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You want a school that helps you develop and refine your artistic talent? The art department at Mercyhurst University provides the individualized instruction you need to secure a rewarding career in the creative field. Our coursework provides a hands-on, studio approach to art in our state-of-the-art labs and facilities.





You’ll learn from a dynamic faculty who are working artists themselves, currently exhibiting in the field. They will teach you artistic processes; methods of creative problem solving; the diversity of art materials, media and approaches; the importance of design; and the role of art history. Studio space is always available here, unlike large schools where space may be limited.

No matter which major you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to get hands-on experience right away through internships and other experiences. Art education majors have more than 100 hours of observing and teaching art as part of their coursework before student teaching. Art therapy majors conceptualize problems and solutions with actual clients by creating art, utilizing story and narrative, creating research journals, and role playing and game integration to promote the value of non-verbal expression.

Graphic design majors have competed at the annual American Advertising Federation awards; have membership in the American Institute of Graphic Arts; and have worked with real nonprofits, including the Erie Small Business Development Center, the Liberian People’s Initiative Against Poverty and the Sisters of Mercy. Studio Art majors present their work at a senior exhibition held in the Cummings Art Gallery on campus and will graduate with a fully-prepared portfolio to use in graduate school interviews.

With a 14-1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of 20 students, you’re never just a number at Mercyhurst. In fact, many upper level courses average 10 or fewer students. We keep our classes small so you can get individualized attention from professors to ensure your success in class and beyond.

Every year the Mercyhurst Art Department hosts a student juried art show. Watch a video below featuring the students who were awarded top honors for the 2013-14 event.

Student Juried Art ShowStudent Juried Art Show


Visit the Cummings Art Gallery on Facebook

View an article published at that reviews the 2015 Student Juried Art Show.

Scholarships - NEW DATE

Sister Angelica High School Art Scholarship Competition

The annual Sister Angelica High School Art Scholarship Competition is based on 8-12 digital images of the students high school work. Images should be .jpg format, 150 dpi, no larger than 8 x 10 inches and delivered via


First Place: $10,000 per year
Second Place: $8,000 per year
Third Place: $6,000 per year
Honorable Mention Award(s) of $2,500


The competition is open to high school seniors. Each student must submit eight to twelve digital images in any medium. A cross section of art forms is suggested. Award winners must have applied as an art major at Mercyhurst University. (


Digital images should be jpegs placed in a folder and shared through with thubert@ Images should be .jpg format, 72 dpi, no larger than 1024 pixels in the longest direction. Applicants should name their .jpg files with first 4 letters of their last name and the image number. (EG. Hopp1. jpg for the first image for an applicant named Hopper) Applicants may choose to place their digital images in a Power Point or PDF formatted document. All entries must include a separate Word document with the following information: name, home address, home telephone number, high school, art teacher’s name‚ artist’s name, and a numbered list of works, including full title, size of work, and medium. 


Members of the Mercyhurst University Art Faculty will serve as jury for the contest. The jurors reserve the right not to award one of more scholarships if the submitted works do not comply with the expected standards of the competition.


Questions? Please contact Tom Hubert at or 814-824-2384. Visit for more information.

To mail an entry on a USB drive, send to:
Tom Hubert
Mercyhurst University
501 E 38th St
Erie, PA 16546-0001


Portfolios are accepted through December 6, 2016, and scholarships are announced early January. Should any winner choose not to accept the award, the scholarship can be awarded to the next person in rank. Awards are renewable yearly upon favorable review of the department.


Every precaution will be taken to protect submissions. However, the Art Department or the University is not to be held responsible for any damage or loss that may occur.


Art Students at Mercyhurst University are encouraged to pursue individual goals. Students are challenged to develop their creative potential through the varied experiences and disciplines of the art field. Art department sponsored field trips, art. art education, and art therapy clubs, slide lectures, workshops, and exhibitions provide enrichment for students.

The curriculum is designed to expose students to a wide range of skills, capabilities, and knowledge in order to compete in their field. The liberal arts curriculum— in combination with major programs —help them think critically, develop values, and comprehend the richness of the world around them.

In order for all art students to understand the discipline of art, a foundation year has been developed to codify knowledge, introduce expectations, and hone skills. This foundation year consists of 3 courses: Drawing I, 2-Dimensioanl Design, and 3-Dimensional Design. This common beginning allows for more effective critiques, a broad-based, understanding of the field of art, and the creation of a framework for a student to begin to explore art in their chosen area.

Sophomore review allows student to reflect on their work created in the first two years at Mercyhurst. Students create a display of their portfolio of work, an artist statement of intent, and present their academic record in the courses they have taken to date. A student must have a 2.7 major GPA and successfully complete their sophomore review in order to remain as an Art major. During the review, student’s individual goals and issues are discussed with the faculty review panel. Students are provided feedback to reinforce their strengths and properly address concerns.

After successfully completing the foundation year coursework and entry-level classes, Students can choose from a variety of upper level courses. Exemplary courses include Figure Drawing, Wheel Thrown or Sculptural Ceramics, Oil Painting, Intermediate or Color Photography, and advanced Graphic Design, Art Therapy or Art Education offerings.

Major(s) Art Education
  Art Therapy
  Graphic Design
  Studio Art
Minor(s) Art Minor
  Art Therapy Minor
  Graphic Design Minor
  Photography Minor

Ready to begin your journey in art?  Apply online today -- it's free and getting your application started takes only a few brief minutes.  Interested students may also consult the course catalog for more information.  As a liberal arts institution, all undergraduate students complete Mercyhurst's core curriculum

In accord with the University Mission Statement and grounded in the Art Department's history and tradition, we aim to provide training for students in selected artistic areas so that they have the opportunity to develop and refine their talents and abilities. With this purpose in mind, Art Faculty members with their varied areas of expertise, encourage and emphasize the student's pursuit of excellence. We believe in a comprehensive approach to teaching that values a range of artistic processes and products, as well as a variety of historical and contemporary methods to the study of Art. We believe that Art is a universally accepted form of sharing capable of promoting lifelong, caring learners. We are dedicated to developing students who are globally and socially aware and engaged in service and leadership. To this end we provide a wide range of opportunities for students to encounter Art. Beginning with the Art Foundation Year, course work emphasizes a hands on studio approach to Art. The learning of artistic processes; methods of creative problem solving; the diversity of art materials, media, and approaches; the importance of Design; and the role of Art History are mastered and integrated to help form future ambassador artists, teachers, art therapists, designers, and art practitioners.

  • Critically analyze select works of art and design
  • Describe the historical, geographic, cultural and contemporary contexts of works of art and design
  • Present and critique works of art and design using appropriate criteria and terminology
  • Create works of art and design by applying methods, tools, materials and techniques
  • Generate and revise ideas in stages of creative process
  • Develop works of art and design that utilize concepts, elements and principles of art and design

PaintingsDark RoomGraphic DesignScluptureBirdGraphic Design

The Art Department is housed on two floors of the Zurn Arts and Science Building. The facilities include studios for ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and sculpture. Because of the small class sizes, students have ample access to work in the studios outside of class time. Student work is regularly exhibited in extensive display areas on the first floor of Zurn Hall. The Graphic Design lab is housed in the neighboring Hirt building where students have key card access to the modern graphics dedicated computer lab.

Photography Studio

The new photography studio has a computer lab and dedicated shooting area. The photography darkroom includes enlargers for black and white and color work.

Ceramics/Sculpture Studio

The ceramic studio includes fifteen potters wheels, two slab roller, several extruders, an extensive glaze inventory and mixing area, a clay mixing room, a kiln room with 3 large electric kilns and one gas fired kiln, and an outdoor Raku firing area.

Art Studio 1 and 2

Two separate Art studio spaces are used primarily for drawing, painting, two-dimensional design and printmaking. They are also available for students to work outside of class.

Graphics Lab

Housing 20 Macintosh computers; four printers: a color laser, photo inkjet, black and white laser, and a six-color, large-format plotter; scanners; drafting tables; and digital cameras, the Graphic Design lab is available 20 hours a day for classes and student studio time. The lab also, includes a large screen projection system for lecture, instruction, and presentation purposes.

Art Therapy Room

Art Therapy utilizes many different media and processes when working with clients. To that end students have access to this space to create the work necessary for their major. It allows easy access to many of the materials needed in their projects.

The Cummings Gallery

On January 15, 1984, Sister Angelica Cummings, founder of the Mercyhurst art department, watched as generations of art students and supporters honored her efforts with the Mercyhurst art department by dedicating the college's art gallery in her name. Today, that gallery ranks among the best in the region, and pulls in artists from around the tri-state area.

What started as a hallway in Old Main, where student artwork was highlighted just outside the art studio on the third floor of the only building on campus, has grown into a beautiful exhibit space used not only for student art, but also traveling shows and juried offerings. Located in the lobby of the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center, it is also a favored reception space..

A generous endowment established a few years ago by alumna Audrey Hirt '49 in the name of her friend, the late Rev. Sylvester I. Jaworski, SVD, a Divine Word missionary, educator and avid photographer, has enabled the gallery to rent exhibits from such places as the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., and also funds juried photography shows that pull photographers from the entire tri-state region.


Daniel Burke, M.Ed.
Gary Cardot, M.A., M.F.A.
Assistant Professor
Heather Denning, MA, ATR-BC, ATCS, LSW
Art Therapy Instructor
Jodi Staniunas-Hopper, M.F.A.
Chairperson, Associate Professor
Peter Stadtmueller, M.S.I.S.
Graphic Design Program Director, Lecturer
Thomas Hubert, M.F.A.