The Arts

The Arts play an integral role in Vassar’s curriculum and culture. Just 90 minutes away, New York City is a compelling backdrop to Vassar’s vibrant arts and culture scene.



The Art Department offers majors or correlates in art history and studio art, as well as a track in architecture. Enriched by a comprehensive college art museum, both majors culminate in a one-semester senior thesis or independent studio project.

Art History

The art history program offers courses that encompass topics and periods ranging from the arts of the ancient world to those of Asia, Africa, early modern Europe, and contemporary art in a global environment. It provides students with knowledge of significant works of art, and architecture and their historical developments.


The studio program offers classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and video. It introduces the practices of the artist and the creative process by emphasizing ways of seeing and conceptualizing the processes entailed in making art.


Aerial view of the exterior of the The Loeb Art Center

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Vassar was the first college or university in the country to include an art museum as part of its original plan. Called “a symphony of architecture” by the New York TimesThe Loeb Art Center is home to one of the finest teaching collections in the nation.

Palmer Gallery

Situated between the North Atrium and the Retreat cafeteria, the James W. Palmer III Gallery is at the heart of the College Center. Serving as an exhibition space for artwork created within and beyond the Vassar community.

Archives and Special Collections

The Catherine Pelton Durrell ’25 Archives and Special Collections Library is the principal repository of the College's noteworthy collections of rare books, manuscripts, archival records of Vassar College, and other special materials.

Creative Arts Across Disciplines

Creative Arts Across Disciplines (CAAD) began at Vassar College as a Mellon Foundation-funded initiative. Through partnerships with other initiatives, programs, departments, and projects, CAAD continues to serve as an experimental laboratory for trying out new models of research, pedagogy, practice, and community engagement that foreground critical making and doing as complementary activities to critical thinking. Since 2017, CAAD has partnered with the Music Department to produce MODfest and also hosts a summer creative research program that is generously funded by Henry Wendt III and Holly P. Wendt ’57.


The Dance Department offers a range of courses in movement, ballet, modern dance, jazz, and choreography. The Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre, a performing company of ballet, modern, and jazz dancers, is a credited course offering experienced dance students opportunities to perform in a variety of professional repertory as well as present their own choreography in the dance theater and off campus.

Why Vassar Drama?

Featuring former Chair and Professor of Drama; Shona Tucker (the first African American female to chair the Drama Department)


The Film Department is international in scope, stressing a diverse canon ranging from silent films to television to webisodes. As film majors, students are grounded in film history and theory and then take intensive courses in documentary and narrative production in 16mm and digital, as well as screenwriting for shorts or feature films.


Photo collage of six images. From left to right and top to bottom: french horn player, group of violinists, choral group, conductor with hands raised facing the orchestra, musical notation on a chalk board, hands playing an organ.

Music occupies a place of prominence at Vassar in its curriculum, faculty, student activities, and facilities. The Department of Music offers an extensive program encompassing opportunities for majors and non-majors to explore performance, composition, history, and theory in depth.