Department of Fine Arts


Program Overview

In the ancient world, there were seven fine arts: architecture, painting, and sculpture; music and dance; literature and theater.  The modern, technological world added an eighth, cinema, adapted from principles of the original seven.  In all of the arts, the objective is to express, in beautiful forms, what it feels like to be human.  The arts are an invitation to what Aristotle in the Poetics, writing about dramatic tragedy, called vicarious experience.  Raymond Carver, writing classic short stories 2,500 years later, meant the same thing when he titled a story about an artist, "Put Yourself in My Shoes."

The Fine Arts department at Wheeling Jesuit University offers you the opportunity

  • to discover or continue exploring your own creative talents
  • to appreciate creative masterworks accomplished by artistic geniuses of the past.

You may choose among a variety of “studio” or “workshop” courses in acting, creative writing, dance, filmmaking, and visual art.  In addition, classroom courses in art and architecture, film studies, music, and theater provide frameworks for understanding historical context and formal design of great works of fine art.


Three minor programs of study are available for you to pursue your artistic passions and complement your major as you prepare for graduate study and/or the professional world:

Creative Writing
You’ll study the formal elements of a variety of literary forms, including creative nonfiction (memoir and New Journalism), fiction, poetry, and screenwriting, and create original work in all these forms in a workshop setting. In senior year, you prepare a capstone portfolio from all genres with an eye toward submitting work for publication, as well as give a formal public reading of original work.

Film Studies
You’ll explore the breadth and depth of cinema as an art form from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including fine arts, history, literature, psychology, and religious studies. You also take an introductory course in the art of filmmaking, studying documentary and art-video sources in preparation for shooting and assembling original work. 

Fine Arts
This interdisciplinary minor allows you to indulge your interests in a wide variety of appreciation and practice of artistic forms, as you mix and match classroom and workshop courses from among acting, creative writing, dance, filmmaking and film studies, music, and visual art.

A fine arts minor pairs well with any major, from business to health sciences to teaching, as a way of suggesting to prospective employers and application committees that you are a person of well-rounded interests and acculturation. Creative writing and film studies pair particularly well with the English or Communications majors to diversify your skill sets in preparation for employment in media and business or for study at the graduate level.

The Jewelweed is the annual fine-arts magazine at Wheeling Jesuit University, entirely created and edited by students like you, and published on or around Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23. The Jewelweed will publish your visual art and literary creations, but you can also get experience as an editor on the staff of the magazine, working in all facets from business management to copy editing to design and layout.

WJU Fine Arts Award: Fine Arts faculty annually identify a graduating senior who has demonstrated sustained excellence in and, when relevant, beyond the fine-arts workshops and classrooms. Past recipients of this award, presented at the Senior Awards Banquet before Commencement each year, have been recognized for their work in creative writing, film studies, music, theater, and visual art.

Additionally, each year the Jewelweed recruits faculty and staff members to judge submitted literary and visual-art works. Students are recognized with awards for their work every year in categories including drawing, fiction, graphic art, non-fiction, painting, photography, and poetry.