Students in the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts may focus in one of three concentrations: studio, theater, or film and photography. Courses in sculpture, critical theory, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, acting, directing, stage design and film production, among others, cover topics fundamental to these concentrations. Beyond the basics, we offer specialized and interdisciplinary courses that treat subjects as varied as exhibition design, drawing for sculpture, road trip photography, comics, and monstrosity.
Our faculty members are all actively engaged in their fields. Their work is exhibited, screened and staged at major institutions locally, nationally and abroad. Their enthusiasm and experience engender classes charged with real conviction that stay current with contemporary issues. Visiting artists and speakers are scheduled every semester, contributing additional perspectives on the state of the art.
On-campus facilities afford extensive opportunities to produce, present and appreciate art. The Rice Media Center features a spacious exhibition hall as well as a working state-of-the-art cinema that screens films from around the world. We also have a 500-seat proscenium-style performing arts theater staging two productions each year. Immediately next door to the Media Center, the recently opened Moody Center for the Arts mounts exhibitions by acclaimed artists and presents lectures and events year-round. Matchbox Gallery provides a student-run exhibition venue, and the Emergency Room Gallery brings Houston-local emerging artists to Rice. Even outside these official spaces, Rice campus abounds with art. Public works by hometown luminaries and internationally celebrated artists dot our grounds and fill our buildings.
Past the campus hedges, Houston sustains a thriving arts community. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Glassell School of Art, and The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston are a short walk from campus. The renowned Menil Collection is a little further north. Downtown Houston, accessible by light rail, is home to the Alley Theatre and the Houston Grand Opera. Project Row Houses, the Houston Center for Photography and the Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) are also close at hand. Frequent partnerships with these and other institutions, department-wide or via individual faculty members, push the borders of the classroom into the city itself.
In the spring of their junior year, majors from all three concentrations travel as a group to an arts capital. Past destinations include New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Marfa Texas and Mexico City. Collegial, bracing and enriching, the junior trip is also perhaps the clearest example of our department’s commitment to a broad and immersive arts education.