Visual and Communication Arts
The Visual and Communication Arts Department (VACA) offers majors in studio art, art education, communication, digital media and photography. These majors prepare students to pursue professional jobs in a variety of careers and to pursue graduate work in an array of programs.
Majors and minors
Our majors prepare students to move comfortably from the studio, to the gallery, to the field and to the screen in their creative activities. Curious about the vocational possibilities for EMU alums? Visit our VACA careers page..
Art major and art education endorsement
Prepares students who will pursue professional art-related careers, independent art work and graduate work in art. The art major offers a variety of studio arts options after students finish a core curriculum.
Students take a broad group of core courses along with the foundational courses in a variety of electronic media, writing and theory courses.
Digital media major
Students focus on the intersection of the internet, digital video, audio and photography within an increasing array of delivery systems.
Photography majors build a solid framework in digital photography practice and theory. Students learn studio/field practices, study visual theory, and engage the community through documentary work and conservation photography.
“At EMU I had so many opportunities to participate in shared learning moments with wonderful teachers like Jerry Holsopple. More importantly than giving me a good academic foundation and good technical skills, the VACA department at EMU prepared me to use my gifts in practical and meaningful ways.”
-Andi Dube, EMU business administration grad with a communications minor, works for a not-for profit organization in New York City, where he’s a media studies graduate student. (Photo by Frank Ameka, EMU photography graduate)
- Digital Communication
- Digital Video Production
- Art, Grades PreK-12
- Journalism (add-on)
Professors who are mentors
VACA professors push students to go beyond the aesthetic to consider the social and the global aspects of their work so that they can become transformers of cultural and community landscapes.
Passionate and ethical communication
In order to serve in this way, image-makers need more than technical competency. They need to possess a conceptual and aesthetic framework that will allow them to communicate effectively, passionately and ethically.
While intellectually rigorous, the VACA faculty seeks to nurture a profound appreciation for the spiritual, emotive and poetic aspects of human existence. The visual arts at EMU help students encounter a much bigger world that cannot always be described in logical terms.
Students explore the ethical and cultural problems inherent in mass communication and the artistic endeavor and the increasingly international thrust of communication.
Careers in Visual and Communication Arts
Careers include artist, art educator, photographer, graphic designer, video producer, web-producer, industrial designer, visual artist, web designer, video editor, journalist, photo-journalist, fine artist, interior designer, communications, art therapist, community arts activist, production craftsperson, CD-ROM developer, advertising, broadcasting, screen printer, photographer, exhibit designer, gallery director, curator, fashion designer, theater set, lighting or sound designer, illustrator, arts administrator, framer, gallery preparator and graduate study in visual art, communication or film and video. See more on our careers page.
Some art careers require education beyond the undergraduate level.
- December 4th, 2014
Courtesy of The Mennonite, Nov. 30, 2014. When Molly Kraybill was a senior photography major at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), Harrisonburg, Va., she photographed women ages 1 to 100 for her senior art show, “One Hundred.” On Nov. 30, the project was picked up by the website “Hello Giggles,” a positive online community founded by celebrity Zooey …More
Conservation photography class looks at proposed Atlantic Coast pipline route and how it could affect the environmentNovember 24th, 2014
After the U.S. Forest Service released its newly revised proposal for George Washington National Forest on Tuesday, many concerns about the forest’s future were laid to rest. But for Eastern Mennonite University’s conservation photography class, there is still work to be done. The class, taught by professor Steven Johnson, is in its second year at …More