The Department of Art and Art History is headquartered in Montgomery Hall, home to studio classrooms in a variety of media and many of our digital resources and exhibition spaces, including Boyden Gallery. The Art Annex offers studio spaces for seniors working on SMP projects, as well as the College’s permanent collection of art, which serves as an excellent resource for art historians. Art students also benefit from the College’s interdisciplinary approach to education, as well as the Artist House lectures and events with visiting artists and scholars. And always, the beautiful natural surroundings and beautiful sunset provide inspiration year-round.
The Department of Art and Art History is located in Montgomery Hall, or, as it is affectionately known by students and faculty alike, “Monty.” In addition to classrooms and studios for art, the building is home to a teaching collection that includes plaster casts of classical art sculptures on indefinite loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Fine Art Collection
SMCM’s collection was started in the 1970’s, motivated by a desire to give students at St. Mary’s College the direct experience of fine art. Today the College’s fine arts collection has swelled to over 2,000 paintings, prints, sculptures, textiles and photographs. Art and museum studies students benefit by opportunities for hands-on study and curation of the art. The College community and our visitors are welcome to enjoy this rich array of art on display in the gallery and in the 47 buildings across campus.
The collection’s highlights include art works by Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, William Merritt Chase, Buckminster Fuller, Marc Chagall, Thomas Hart Benton, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Ad Reinhardt, and more. The collection also includes works by current and former SMCM faculty, current St. Mary’s College students, and alums.
Art History classroom
Centrally located in Montgomery Hall, the art history classroom is used for class discussions and lectures, and is equipped with a high-quality projector for instruction and student presentations.
Natural light fills this classroom with skylights and floor to ceiling windows that overlook a brick patio for plein air work. Individual drawing benches for student work. Central model stand, chalkboard, large paper-cutter and spray booth. Moveable, two-sided 6 foot tall x 4 foot wide walls for individual large works. Storage cabinets and racks for portfolios and drawing boards plus cabinet for still life object storage.
Painting and Printmaking
This large, open-plan classroom has windows that overlook a brick patio for plein air studio work that afford plenty of natural light. A seminar table is used for classroom discussion and studio work.
The painting studio houses adjustable height easels, and rolling carts for painting and drawing with stools. There is a cabinet for still life storage and a vertical storage rack for paintings and drawings in progress, as well as a conveniently located sink with an eyewash station. A ceiling mounted digital projector and screen is available for image projection during class.
The print- and book-making studio features countertops and tables with glass inking slabs. It houses three etching presses (Takach with press bed 32” x 48”, Ettan with press bed 30” x 48” and Charles Brand with press bed 18” x 24”), as well as a precision board and paper cutter, drying rack, ventilated wash out sink and storage. Communal tools are supplied for student use in relief, intaglio, monotype and non-toxic printmaking.
The photography studio features a spacious darkroom with 14 enlargers. It is also connected to a dry workspace classroom area equipped with LED lightboxes for students to prepare their analogue printing materials and negatives.
The photography collaborator’s lounge is equipped with professional studio lights, medium format cameras and full sized backdrops. This flexible work space allow students to learn photography with professional studio equipment, understand lighting concepts and also to work actively without being restricted by weather conditions outdoors.
The Digital Classroom
The Montgomery Hall digital lab is equipped with 20 iMac computers loaded with the full Adobe Creative Suite, as well as several flatbed scanners and two medium-format inkjet printers. The lab is used as a classroom for courses in photography and digital art, and two ceiling-mounted projectors facilitate screenings, presentations, and technical demonstrations. The adjacent Pro Lab includes 10 22″ Intel iMacs with Adobe Creative Suite 5.5, After Effects, Maya, and Final Cut Pro.
Art Annex Senior Studios
Students completing an art capstone are provided with dedicated, shared studio spaces with tall ceilings, many working walls, tables and rolling carts, housed in the purpose-built Art Annex. A central communal space includes a large seminar table, ceiling-mounted digital projector and screen, paper cutter, supply cabinet with hand tools and supplies. Students have 24-hour card-key access to this secure facility.
Media Critique Room
This dedicated critique and seminar space allows students to effectively present their works and engage in discussions and artwork viewing. Magnetic walls and specialized lighting facilitate the display of photographic and digital prints, and a 65″ 4K monitor enables the display of digital and time-based works.
Bocour Design Room
Outfitted with movable tables for studio work with excellent natural light, this flexibly-designed seminar-style classroom with its overhead digital projection system is also used for studio art courses that integrate time-based and digital curricula.
Interdisciplinary Classroom Experiences
Students have the opportunity to study the intersections of many disciplines; for example, science and art combine in The Artist Naturalist course, in which students create new scientific illustrations in collaboration with science faculty research. Art students could learn scene painting in theater studies classes; mural painting in the Community Arts class; or, as in the ART 369: Art for Educators class, collaborate with environmental studies students to build a tiny house in partnership with Leonardtown High School’s Forrest Career and Technology Center.
The Classroom Outdoors
Art classes often use the waterfront campus located on the St. Mary’s River and students enjoy working from the local landscape including the adjacent grounds of Historic St. Mary’s City.
In addition to its use as a classroom for Photo and Digital Arts, the lab is available for students to use outside of class time to work on their projects. Students have access to an assortment of equipment available for checkout, including video cameras, DSLR’s, and camera support systems; lights; audio recording equipment, and Wacom tablets.
The Digital Imaging Lab (DIL) is used for media editing and large-format printing. It houses a 44-inch Epson printer, as well as two flatbed scanners, a high-end multi-format scanner, and four iMac computers loaded with the full Adobe Creative Suite.
The Media Center, located on the 3rd floor of the library, is available for all SMCM with technical assistance available for student projects and assignments. The main teaching classroom seats 30, and has individual Mac stations, medium and large format flatbed scanners, HD projector and signal, sound system, turntable and cassette deck, DVD, VHS, whiteboard, staff whiteboard, and piano. Three adjacent rooms include a digital editing lab, recording & photography studio, and audio engineering suite. Also available for all SMCM students is the Media Equipment Room which holds a wide variety of media equipment used for events or available for checkout.
The Dwight Frederick Boyden Gallery at St. Mary’s College of Maryland significantly enhances the department’s programming, hosting a range of exhibitions featuring contemporary and historical art, as well as the annual All-Student Show and the art students’ St. Mary’s Project exhibitions. Boyden Gallery also offers a variety of visiting artist talks, scholarly lectures, and workshops, as well as exhibitions and curatorial projects by art students, alumni and faculty. The gallery has a 40-foot x 40-foot ‘white box’ floor plan with wood floors and track lighting.
In the heart of the Art Department, HallWalls serves as a temporary exhibition space for student work from classes, departmental award shows, and student-organized pop up exhibitions.
Artist House Residencies for visiting artists, scholars and curators
Each academic year, the Department of Art and Art History invites visiting artists, scholars and curators for residencies at the Artist House, which is located in a bucolic spot at the campus edge. The program’s mission is to provide support for fellows with both emerging and established careers by offering them the time and space to create new work, and to develop programming in which artists-in-residence share their work with the campus and local communities. An important part of the program is to support SMCM alumni who return as Artist House Resident Fellows to share their post-graduation experiences with current students. In fall semesters, in partnership with Maryland Institute College of Art, a recent MFA graduate is selected to be the SMCM-MICA Artist House Teaching Fellow with the award of a full-semester residency during which time the fellow also teaches one class for the department. While in residence, fellows give lectures, visit and teach classes, present workshops, show their work in process in open studios, and at the same time have the opportunity to work on a new creative or scholarly project.