NIU’s painting program provides you with a thorough understanding of the theory and practice of painting. The program asks that you approach this process with an open mind, a sense of inquiry, experimentation across media and the willingness to take creative risks in the pursuit of originality and artistic freedom. Artistic independence is achieved through an understanding of the constantly shifting balance between form, content and subject matter in painting.

Engaging in classroom work, individual and group critiques, field trips and assigned reading will help you:

  • Advance your critical thinking
  • Allow you to challenge commonly held beliefs
  • Advance new ideas
  • Develop a sense of belonging to the greater art community

The purpose of the painting program is to give you a combined emphasis on the mastery of formal visual language, knowledge of past and current painting issues, social and cultural awareness, and a deep attention to the role of creativity and imagination in art. We hope that we will be able to help you unify your artistic vision with your professional goals.


See a suggested painting four-year plan.

Student Work

View more painting student work.