Art History

Explore the art world, past and present

Dive into the full range of visual artistic expression.


Art history provides students with a core knowledge of historical and contemporary art practices, pieces, mediums, and techniques, as well as the technical aspects of art-making.

Spelman College offers the required courses for majors in art history through the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective. Though Morehouse students will complete the majority of their coursework at Spelman, they are advised by the visual arts program director at Morehouse. Students majoring in Art History are eligible for scholarships and paid summer internships. 


The goal of the department is to serve students by providing technical, historical, and philosophical instruction in the visual arts. Our program supports Morehouse’s liberal arts tradition. It promotes excellence in the arts through a broad-based curricular framework rooted in the theory and practice of art as it relates to visual language systems and the principals of design. The Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective seeks to shape the future of art history and position the Atlanta University Center as the leading incubator of African American professionals in the fields of art history and curatorial studies.


Through the curriculum in art history, students will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of works of art and architecture produced in different cultures and at different times (historical and contemporary), including major artists, scholars and curators.
  • Demonstrate informed and critical reading, writing and speaking skills that emphasize critical looking. They will be able to analyze the visual and physical qualities of images, objects and buildings.
  • Demonstrate expertise in self-directed research and ability to articulate a range of methodologies and theories/debates across the discipline.
  • Formulate interdisciplinary questions about the roles of art, the built, and the virtual environment based on experiences in cross-departmental courses.
  • Apply an understanding of the broader contexts of art and architecture through museum and site study experience(s) of exhibitions and collections on AUC campuses and in Atlanta area cultural institutions and beyond.
  • Demonstrate a conceptual and historical grasp of contemporary issues in the intersecting worlds of art, science, technology, and new media.


The art history major introduces students to foundational and contemporary global art movements and theories while integrating the research methods, critical writing, and visual analysis skills necessary in studying the history of art and visual culture. Specialized electives led by faculty experts and covering diverse periods, geographical locations, and topics encourage a deeper engagement with the student’s particular areas of interest. Professional development courses and topics are integrated into the curriculum to prepare students for advanced degrees and/or careers in the visual arts.

General Education (Core)
33-48 hours

Refer to the general education requirements for more information.

Art History Major
49 hours

Foundational courses: Students are introduced to art historical movements

  • SAVC 141 Art—
    History I: Pyramids to Cathedrals
  • SAVC 142 Art— History II: Renaissance to Contemporary
  • SAVC 230— Global Foundations of Modern Art
  • SAVC 243— African American Art 
  • SAVC 387— The Art Market

Practice courses: Students deepen their writing and research skills

  • SAVC 255— Writing and Criticism in Art History
  • SAVC 238— Art as Social Justice
  • SAVC 320— Art History Methods, Theory, and Practice

Personal practice and career-building courses: Students prepare for real-world usage of skills

  • SAVC 375— Entering the Art World: Culture and Context
  • SAVC 480— Art History Thesis
  • Division of the Arts Seminar

Elective courses: Students expand their knowledge of art and art history

  • Curatorial Studies Elective
  • Art and Visual Culture Elective
  • Art History Elective
  • Art History Elective (writing intensive)

All art history majors are required to complete paid summer internships. Additional internships and study abroad are strongly encouraged. Learn more about the major’s courses on the Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective website. You may also view course descriptions, and career options.

Please contact Rachel Brown, program manager, Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective at for questions about the Art History major.


The art history minor is designed for students seeking to expand their knowledge of art history. By introducing major global art movements and theories, an additional emphasis is placed on developing skills in art history research, critical writing, critical thinking, and visual analysis. 

The minor is also designed to complement the student’s major interest in other disciplines. Therefore, interdisciplinary study is highly encouraged. A business major minoring in art history might pursue entrepreneurship opportunities in the commercial art world, including employment in galleries or auction houses or work in museum leadership, including development and directorial positions. The art history minor will also provide students with options to continue their education in various graduate art programs and/or careers in the visual arts. The Art History minor is offered through the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective  

Minor Requirements
19 credit hours

Students are required to complete 19 credits for the art history minor.     

Art History Minor
19 credits

Required Courses

  • SAVC 141— Art History I: Pyramids to Cathedrals
  • SAVC 142— Art History II: Renaissance to Contemporary
  • SAVC 255— Writing and Criticism in Art History
  • SAVC 320— Art History Methods, Theory and Practice

Choose one (three credits)

  • SAVC 230— Global Foundations of Modern Art
  • SAVC 305— Seminar in Curatorial Practice
  • SAVC 306— Mining the Museum

Choose one (four credits)

  • SAVC 143— African American Art
  • SAVC 312— Unmasked: African Art Past and Present

You may view Art History minor course descriptions and careers in art history on the AUC Curatorial Studies Collective website.

Please contact Rachel Brown, program manager, Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective at for questions about the art history minor.


Krista Clark, MFA
Instructor of Art
B.F.A., Atlanta College of Art; M.A., New York University; M.F.A., Georgia State University 

Chad Dawkins, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor, Art History and Curatorial Studies 

Cheryl Finley, Ph.D.
Director and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Art History 

Christopher Hickey, MFA
Professor of Art 

Abayomi Ola, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Art History 
Julia Elizabeth Neal
Senior Instructor, Art History 

Bernida Webb-Binder, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Art History and Curatorial Studies