SculptureThe Arts

Music, dance, art, and theatre

The programs within the division of the arts encourage creativity, scholarship, and performance as a vital part of the liberal arts education. The arts experience at Reed goes far beyond the classroom or studio setting and is enriched by the high level of participation by students who do not plan to major in the division. Majors are offered in art, music, and theatre, as well as established interdisciplinary programs such as dance-theatre and literature-theatre. Students may also apply to develop their own interdisciplinary major.


The curriculum in each department offers introductory coursework that provides theoretical, historical, and technical foundations along with considerable experience in the practice of the arts. Majors and non-majors alike may undertake more intensive study in a specific field through advanced courses in studio, performance, and academic subjects. Students who major in the division also take an upper-division humanities course and must satisfy a foreign language requirement. The division encourages independent study projects.

Special programs beyond the campus include a five-year, dual degree B.A.-B.F.A. program through the Pacific Northwest College of Art and a number of exciting internships for the studio artist or art historian. Study abroad programs are also available for students wishing to expand their range of experiences, including the study of theatre at the world famous Moscow Art Theatre School.

DancersStudents may apply for Kaspar Locher Summer Creative Scholarships, which fund special projects in the arts during the summer months. Recent scholarships have been awarded for a sculptural book installation; for composition of music for the didjeridoo, mouth harp, a handmade harmoniphone, and throat singing; and for composition and choreography of a group dance piece.

On-campus facilities support and enhance the arts program and encourage participation in the arts by the entire community. Facilities include:

  • a studio arts building with studios for a variety of individual media and individual studio spaces for thesis work
  • performance areas for music, theatre, and dance including a highly versatile theatre building
  • the Kaul Auditorium, which can seat from 546 to 756 people
  • a music building with 17 separate practice rooms, a computer music lab, and recital space
  • the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, which supports the curriculum through its exhibitions and permanent collections

The Reed arts division produces graduates whose creativity and technical abilities are supported and expanded by their ability to think critically and to understand the historical, literary, and social context of their area of concentration. Notable alumni from the division include:

  • David Reed '68, art: one of the finest contemporary abstract painters, New York, whose celebrated work has been shown worldwide
  • Helen Lessick '76, art: public artist; former visual arts coordinator, King County, Seattle
  • Larry Rinder '83, art: curator of contemporary art, Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Maya Allison '92, art: curator of film and video art, The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Mark Chen '95, art: webmaster, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • Hannah Sears '98, art: curatorial assistant and historian, Phillips Collection and Historic American Engineering Record
  • Arwen DavĂ© '88, art and physics (double major): Designing biology lab for international space station
  • Robin Gordon '94, dance-theatre: Acting Fellow, Contemporary American Theatre Co., Ohio
  • Jon Appleton '61, music: Composer; inventor of the Synclavier (a digital synthesizer); author, and Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music at Dartmouth College
  • Peter Child '75, music: Award-winning composer and professor of music at MIT
  • Eric Overmyer '73, theatre: Playwright and writer for film and television, co-executive producer of Law & Order
  • Sophie Haviland '92, theatre: theatre producer and director, New York
    Becky Balistreri '95, theatre: costume designer, Walt Disney Imagineering, Japan

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