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Sarah Kirk
Provost and Dean of Faculty

Fine and Performing Arts

Studio Art, Creative Writing, Dance, Music and Theater

Students interested in the fine and performing arts can find many ways to connect, especially if given a little information and encouragement. The following is a compilation of information that may be helpful to advisers in providing such encouragement.

Art and Architecture

The Department of Art and Architecture offers introductory studio art courses in drawing, color and composition, sculpture and three-dimensional design, and imaging (photography). These are our basic courses and they are in heavy demand.  However, interested first year students should try hard to enroll in them, and may find sections and seats available.  In the event that our introductory courses are closed, students with a passion for studio art may find it useful to talk with members of the Department about their individual interests.  The best way for students to become quickly involved in the visual arts here is to talk directly to faculty and demonstrate interest and commitment.

The several informal ways in which students can pursue their interest in art, or be encouraged to discover it include the following:

  • Students may wish to draw on Tuesday nights, when the Department has a model session open to the community. The location is Elliott 103, and the time is 7:00 10:00 PM. Instruction is available for those who want it.
  • There are a number of student organizations on campus related to visual art and architecture. Examples include the Artists' Collective, the Architecture Club, the Glassblowing Club, Crux literary magazine, and the Crafts Guild. Most of these clubs cycle in and out of prominence based on student interest, but the Art Department is very interested in supporting energetic art students who want to help create a dynamic art scene. Interested students can check them out at the Involvement Expo in the fall, and/or talk to art faculty about support for a new club.
  • The Department of Art and Architecture hosts several exhibitions by professional artists each semester in our Davis Gallery at Houghton House. The opening receptions for these shows are natural occasions for students to connect with others, and to feel part of a community, which values and supports the arts.

English and Creative Writing

Students who have received a 4 or 5 on the English AP exam, or who have transferred in credit for an introductory literature course from another college, are advised not to take English 101, but to enroll in a higher-numbered course (176-299). Those choosing to major or minor in English may substitute their AP or equivalent course for the English 101 requirement.

ENG 260, Creative Writing, is the introductory course in creative writing.  While it is in very heavy demand, the course is offered each semester, and the English Department reserves several seats specifically for talented first- and second-year students.  First-years are encouraged to submit poems or short prose to the instructor of the section he/she is interested in joining.  If this work suggests the student is ready to be in the class, and space is still available, the student will be admitted. Submissions should be made before the first day of class. 

Contact the instructors for information on applying for admission. For general information on creative writing, see Professors Melanie Conroy-Goldman, Chair, or David Weiss.

A wealth of opportunities exists for involvement with other students and faculty sharing an interest in writing:

  • First years are welcome to join the staff of Thel, the campus literary magazine; United, the literary magazine that supports the concerns of the HWS minority community; or any of the alternative publications which exist in various guises. And then of course there is The Herald, the student newspaper. Members of the English Department can advise students on how to connect with students active in each of these organizations. And be sure to look for them at Club Night.
  • The Colleges' Writers Reading Series hosts acclaimed poets and prose writers reading and discussing their work frequently. The best way to keep up with upcoming events is to watch the bulletin boards, especially in Demarest Hall, and to check the Daily Update page on the HWS website. There are also frequent student readings and open mics.
  • Writer's House, a theme house residence on St. Clair St., serves as student writing headquarters and provides an informal context in which to discuss reading and writing outside the classroom.

Finally, check out the extensive collection of up-to-the-minute literary magazines in the Demarest Hall lounge.


The Dance Department offers studio courses in dance technique (classical and contemporary ballet, modern, and jazz dance) in beginning through advanced levels every semester. Dance technique classes may be enrolled in for full academic credit (DAN 900-level designation) and will include writing and reading assignments in addition to the studio class work. These full-credit 900 level technique courses are taken for a letter grade only.

Students preferring to enroll in dance technique as a half-credit (DAT) activity may do so as a fifth course and will not have outside of class assignments. The half-credit DAT courses must be enrolled in for credit/no credit (CR/NC) only. First-year dancers with sufficient training and possible interest in minoring or majoring in dance should register for an intermediate or advanced level technique class their first term. Any student unsure of his/her technique class level should contact a Dance Department faculty member to discuss appropriate placement.

Dance theory courses focus on the study of dance composition, history, anatomy and kinesiology, movement analysis and/or pedagogy. DAN 105, Introduction to Dance: Theory and Practice, is a full credit course offered every fall term for students interested in learning about dance research theories and their application. Instruction alternates between the dance studio for movement-based investigation and the classroom for lecture-based material. The course is offered in the fall term only; no prior dance experience is necessary. Students who think they may major or minor in dance are encouraged to take DAN 105 in the first year or second year.

Koshare is the student dance club. Students interested in participating in the November Koshare Dance Concert as dancers, choreographers, or backstage crew should contact one of the officers.  All are welcome.

The Dance Department sponsors master classes and teaching and performing residencies by guest artists throughout the year. Watch for notices about auditions for Koshare (September) Faculty Dance Concert (October) and other special events.


The HWS Department of Music offers courses in theory, aural skills, music history and literature, orchestration, and form and analysis, as well as opportunities to perform in musical ensembles and take private instruction in various disciplines. Students have the option of choosing a disciplinary music major or either a disciplinary or interdisciplinary music minor.

Taking Private Lessons
Students interested in private instruction can sign up for lessons on the bulletin board on the second floor of Williams Hall as early in the term as possible, and/or talk with a member of the Department. There is a fee for private instruction (14 half-hour lessons per semester). Students also have the option of studying for a full hour; in such cases, they should register for both section numbers indicated. Guitar students have the additional option of taking class guitar (MUS 921-01).

For information about Music Department offerings, contact Prof. Bob Cowles, Chair, Department of Music, x3404,


Students interested in focusing on Theater in their class work should consider minoring in Theater Studies. They should take Acting I or Introduction to Dramatic Literature in their first year and get involved in a theatrical production during that year as well. Beginning Acting is the prerequisite for Playwriting, Directing, and Advanced Acting. They should be encouraged to see the Directors of Theater, Professors Robert Gross and Pat Collins, or Professor Lisa Black, to discuss their interests. Notification of all productions, auditions, and important meetings related to Bartlett Theater activities are posted on the web and announced via e-mail.