2021-2022 Catalog 
    Jun 08, 2023  
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Visual and Performing Arts

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Professors A. Greidanus (studio art), J. Steensma Hoag (studio art) P. Shangkuan (music), J. Witvliet (music), B. Wolters-Fredlund (music)
Associate Professors T. Engle (music), T. Steele (music; cochair)
Assistant Professor F. Wakeman (music)


There are a variety of co- and extracurricular opportunities for students interested in dance at Calvin. The Kinesiology Department offers several Physical Education and Recreation (PER) classes in dance, including jazz, tap, modern, ballet, and sacred dance, both at the introductory and intermediate levels. In addition, our department sponsors Dance Guild, a student organization with over 300 participants that puts on huge show each semester that is a highlight of our arts calendar.

Graphic Design

The graphic design major equips students for professional and personal opportunities in the world of design and related fields, by developing skills to solve foundational design problems (whatever the medium) as embedded in a way of thinking. Typography, as the arrangement and handling of type to make language visible, is a central focus of the program. Supported by foundational studio courses such as drawing and photography, along with course options from the communication and business departments, the major takes a broad approach to the fundamental role of design as an integral part of the human experience.


We welcome both majors and non-majors to create and investigate music with us, whether in ensembles, private lessons, or music courses. All music-making in our department is understood as rooted in the belief that God created human beings to be musical, that musical activity allows for a unique mode of expression, understanding, and social connection not found elsewhere in culture, and that Christians are called to cultivate and renew this part of God’s creation.

We want our music majors to become well-rounded and versatile musicians who are prepared to bring their musical skills, knowledge, and virtues to a wide variety of vocations. Our Bachelor of Arts major and minor include an introduction to the important subdisciplinary fields of the academic study of music, including theory, musicianship, musicology, performance, and collaboration. All of our students will graduate with career-ready skills, including basic fluency in sight reading, keyboard musicianship, conducting, and music technologies (notation and sound editing). Within the music major students may choose their own music electives or focus them by choosing a performance emphasis or composition emphasis.

Music Major Approval

Students who wish to declare a major in music must complete the following minimum requirements, usually during the first year:

  1. Overall GPA of at least 2.5.
  2. A grade of C or better in MUSC 100 .
  3. A grade of C or better in two semesters of MUSC 260  in the student’s principal area of performance.

Note: Students who wish to do the performance emphasis must also pass an approval jury, usually at the end of the spring semester of their sophomore year.

Studio Art

We offer both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. Students opting for a Bachelor of Arts degree may choose from the major concentrations of studio art, art education, and graphic design. The department also offers a minor in studio art and graphic design. If studio art is selected, concentrations include: ceramics, drawing, painting, and photography. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, which has a greater professional emphasis, is described here .


The primary outlet for students interested in theater at Calvin is the Calvin Theater Company (CTC). CTC is a community that welcomes people with all kinds of talents from all different majors—from actors and directors to set builders and dramaturgs, you have talents that are vital to the production. What you learn through putting those skills into practice can translate into a huge variety of vocations: design, communication, business, and government work are just a few.


    MajorMinorComprehensive MajorGroup Minor


      ArtArt Studio

      The following art courses may be part of supplementary concentrations in journalism: ARTS 255  , ARTS 256  , ARTS 305  , ARTS 306  , ARTS 316  , ARTS 355  , and ARTS 356  .

      MusicMusic: Private Lessons

      All full-time Calvin University students may enroll in private or instrument lessons. Part-time students and dual-enrollment students must first receive permission from the department chair before enrolling in private lessons.

      An additional fee will be charged for all private music lessons, based on the type and length of the lesson; see music department website for current rates. Refunds will be issued to students who drop lessons, according to Calvin’s reimbursement guidelines for tuition refunds. No refund of lesson fees will be issued after 38 calendar days. See the Financial Information  pages in this catalog and the Music Department website for details.

      Students enrolling in private lessons for the first time at Calvin University may be required to take a placement audition. For a complete description of private music lesson policies and expectations, please see the Music Department website.

      Music: Ensembles

      Membership in ensembles is open to Calvin students who meet the requirements of musicianship. All students who want to participate in any of the music ensembles at Calvin may audition by arrangement with the conductor prior to each semester.

      All ensembles carry academic credit. Ensembles may not be audited. If a student is already registered for 17 semeter hours, they may register for the ensemble for 0 credit to avoid the overload fee. See the Music Department website for more details.


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