Interdisciplinary Arts & Letters


Many students wish to emphasize Prescott College’s liberal arts mission by pursuing a broad-based competence or breadth in the Arts & Letters area rather than a more narrowly defined field of study. The Interdisciplinary Arts & Letters Program strongly encourages this approach. It allows students to make connections across disciplines, to deepen their appreciation of all the arts, and to learn the theory and techniques of more than one discipline. 

Students pursuing an Interdisciplinary Arts & Letters competence are expected to complete significant work in at least two of three areas:

  1. Writing & Literature
  2. Visual Arts
  3. Dance

Writing & Literature

In this hands-on, interdisciplinary area of study, students work with our faculty of published writers to hone their creative and critical writing skills. In creative writing workshops, students generate original poems, stories, and essays, and in addition to learning to give and receive constructive criticism, they learn to use feedback to polish their work. In literature courses, students explore both classic and contemporary American works as well as works from other cultures. All of our writing and literature courses encourage students to become careful readers and informed writers, able to effectively analyze and synthesize material, able to appreciate diversity, and able to engage in discourse with the wider world community. In practicum courses—courses in which students work on the staffs our award-winning national literary journal or regional newspaper, or serve the community through teaching assistantships or internships—students get professional experience in writing, editing, and teaching. These experiences allow students to further explore their passions, refine their skills, and apply their knowledge in preparation for future work and study.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts offers the following areas of study: Studio Arts (Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Printmaking, and Public Art), Integrative Photographic Studies (Digital and Analog Image Making, Video and New Media), and Visual Studies (Critical Theory and Practice). We provide an environment where students transform ideas and concepts into objects and visual experiences. Through a curriculum designed to introduce the importance, impact and influence of visual arts on the individual and society, students receive hands-on instruction in a variety of media, while developing a critical understanding of their art practice within contemporary visual culture. The faculty of artists in the Visual Arts Area endeavors to cultivate a sense of community through the common experience of the creative process and by sharing their professional experience with students. Our studio and field-based courses encourage students to refine creative thought and apply acquired knowledge and skill to the making of images, objects and experimental works. While our Practicum and Development courses provide students with professional experience in gallery and curatorial studies, preparing the student for careers in the arts after Prescott College.


Courses in Dance focus on the whole person, in relationship to self, other, the environment, and community. Our courses provide a balance of spontaneous play and attention to craft, with contemporary training in improvisation and/or choreography as the groundwork for artistic expression and performance. These courses often incorporate other media, such as story, spoken word, music, song, projected images, film, and costuming. Students work toward an increased understanding of the body and movement, improvisation and composition, the mind and creativity, the performer and the witness, the physical and the spiritual.  They learn to communicate, confidently and effectively by reflecting upon and articulating their experience, inspiration, and vision. Aspiring to meet our changing world, we are intent on expanding boundaries of dance and performance to include health and wellness, community building, environmental awareness, social restoration and sustainability, and conscious evolution.  The Dance area contributes to the larger community by offering public events—workshops, performances, and inter-generational exchange are an essential part of our work. Graduates apply their dance-related skills to diverse lives and careers. 

Publications, Awards, Exhibitions and Events

The centerpieces of Writing and Literature are the annual literary journal, Alligator Juniper, and the student newspaper, The Raven Review. Alligator Juniper is student-staffed and faculty-mentored, publishing nationally recognized poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, and Prescott College student contest winners in each category. The journal received the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Directors Prize for content in 2001, 2004, and 2008.

The Southwest Writers Series hosts nationally acclaimed and emerging writers for informal dialogues and workshops as well as formal readings. Guests have included Edward Abbey, Sherman Alexie, Christopher Buckley, Natalie Diaz, James Galvin, Joy Harjo, Barbara Kingsolver, Barry Lopez, Rick Moody, and Alberto Alvaro Rios. Students share their work through public readings and class-generated anthologies.

The Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse provides space for juried student and senior project exhibitions as well as exhibitions by artists of regional, national, and international reputation. Exhibitons have included work by Jay Dusard, Seth Fairwether, Ailie Schmeltz, Marc Anthony Polozzi, and Josh Almond.

The Dance area offers a variety of workshops and performances. Student performances include class showcases, production course projects, and senior projects.

Scholarships and Fellowships

The Frederick & Frances Sommer Fellowship each year assists the academic and artistic endeavors of a senior with a competence in any area of Arts & Letters by providing senior-year housing in the Sommer cabin. Located in a forested Prescott neighborhood, the cabin includes studio space and B&W darkroom. The Arts & Letters Writing and Literature Scholarship each year recognizes an outstanding student working toward a competence in the realm of writing and literature or an incoming student with the intention to pursue such a competence. The Dorothy Ruth Ellis Endowed Scholarship each year recognizes an outstanding student in writing, literature or journalism. To learn more about these scholarships, see Endowment Scholarships under Financial Aid.


Examples of Writing & Literature Courses

  • Sudden Nonfiction: Writing the Very Short Story
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Poetry Workshop
  • Sense of Place
  • Voices from the American Mosaic
  • Film & Literature: Elements of Desire

Examples of Visual Arts Courses

  • The Art of Drawing: Contemporary Approaches to a Traditional Practice
  • Art and Social Change
  • Figure in Context:  Narrative Painting
  • Form and Function: Sculpture in Theory and Practice
  • Glassblowing
  • New Darkrooms:  Intersecting Analog and Digital Photography
  • Alternative Processes in Photography
  • Introduction to Video

Examples of Dance Courses

  • Dance Improvisation
  • Dance and Transformation
  • Artist and Athlete

Examples of Practicum Courses

  • Literary Journal Practicum (Alligator Juniper)
  • Newspaper Journalism (The Raven)
  • Visual Arts Exhibition Practicum: Gallery Management
  • Visual Arts Professional Development Practicum
  • Public Art: Mural Painting
  • Public Art: Site-specific Sculpture
  • Choreography in the Community

Examples of Cross-Disciplinary Courses

In addition to taking courses in different areas, students are encouraged to take courses which intentionally synthesize disciplines as well as to design independent studies.

  • Voices from Latin American
  • Film & Literature: Sense of Place
  • Nature’s Voice
  • Holy Books
  • Observations in Nature:  The Art of Scientific Illustration
  • Bookmaking
  • Art on the Periphery
  • Religion and Spirituality in the History of Art
  • Nature and Dance
  • Opening the Creative Mind


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