WMU Essential Studies

The Frostic School of Art offers courses open to all university students. The indicated courses are intended to enable students to develop an art vocabulary and gain insights into creative expression from a historical, contemporary and individual perspective. Courses range from broad, topical lecture courses to hands-on studio courses in various media.

Level 1: Foundations  Inquiry and Engagement

  • ART 1200 Introduction to Art—3 credits
  • ART 1300 Studio Experience (3-D)—3 credits
  • ART 1400 Studio Experience (2-D)—3 credits
  • ART 1480 Direct Encounter with the Arts—4 credits

Level 2: Exploration and Discovery – Societies and Cultures

  • ART 2200 Caves to Cathedrals —3 credits 

Level 2: Exploration and Discovery – Artistic Theory and Practice 

  • ART 2210 Modern and Postmodern —3 credits

Level 2: Exploration and Discovery – World Language and Culture

  • ART 2220 Art of Africa, Oceania, & the Americas—3 credits
  • ART 2230 Introduction to Asian Art History—3 credits

***All other art courses are restricted to art major and minors

Students should consult the WMU catalog for course descriptions.

WMU catalog 

WMU Essential Studies Faculty

Direct Encounter with the Arts

The Direct Encounter with the Arts program uses a direct approach to introduce students to their cultural world by guiding them through first-hand experiences in a number of areas: cinema, photography, theatre, sculpture, music, dance and architecture. Classroom discussions are held following the student's participation in the various art events scheduled each semester. 

The Direct Encounter with the Arts program is directed by Paul R. Solomon and taught by Paul Solomon and Kevin Dodd. Solomon is an Associate Professor in the Frostic School of Art. Solomon is an artist working with and across all arts disciplines. His deepest concentrations are in photography and writing. Kevin Dodd is a theatre director and has taught various courses at WMU and teaches at Kalamazoo College.

Many classes meet 'on location,' on and off campus. Examples: in the Richmond Center galleries, studios and theatres of the Departments of Theatre and Music, the School of Music, the Kalamazoo Institute for the Arts and numerous other on and off campus locations. In addition, classes meet four to six evenings per semester. This is a mandatory component of the program. Classes attend performances of dance, theatre productions, music as well as films on these evenings. Venues may include all on-campus performance locations as well as many in downtown Kalamazoo.