Art Education at Western

The Art Education program at Western provides you with the credentials and knowledge you'll need to become an elementary classroom teacher or an art specialist who teaches art only. Both the Art Education, Elementary and the Art Education, P-12 programs makes the most of studio art courses, art history courses, and art education courses, as well as the Western Gallery, permanent public sculpture collection on campus, and local art organizations, to foster a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of what art education can be. 

Art Education courses integrate art-making and art-looking to explore the powerful intersection of material and process exploration, visual and cultural literacy, and identity work and personal meaning-making in art. Art education theory comingles with practice as we teach and learn with one another, drawing on current, interrelated art education pedagogies so that each student develops their own, unique teaching philosophy in the process. Students leave with a historical foundation and understanding of the human potential for creative expression and meaning-making through art.

Art Education Degree(s)

Art—Elementary, BAE

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

Western’s Art Education, Elementary program prepares students to become elementary classroom teachers with a special focus on visual art.


Teacher Education Admission, Woodring College of Education | 360-650-6161

Art Major Information, | 360-650-3660

Art—P-12, BAE

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

Western’s Art Education, P-12 program prepares students to become visual art specialists, equipping them with the knowledge and expertise to teaching pre-school through 12th grade art. 


Art Major Information, | 360-650-3660

Secondary Education Information, Woodring College of Education | 360-650-3347

Student Experiences

Internships and Scholarships

Beyond the Classroom

Art students have unique opportunities to gain hands-on, practical experience for a future career in the art world. Faculty assist students in handling and installing artworks, learning and expanding research skills, or improving critical analysis and essay-writing abilities.

Western Art Galleries

Students play an active role in the operations of Western’s three galleries, including the Western Gallery and two student run galleries—the Viking Union and B galleries. 


Art Faculty encourage students to explore the academic world through research assistantships—an invaluable experience for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the field.

Study Abroad

The Department of Art offers many opportunities to travel abroad and domestically. Students participate in unique, life-changing encounters with art and art history.


The Art & Art History Department offers more than a dozen scholarships, including awards that are awarded based on merit, financial need, the department's commitment to recruiting/retaining members of historically underrepresented and systemically oppressed, racialized, and marginalized communities inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities.

For more information, please visit the Art & Art History Scholarships page.

Organizations and Clubs

  • Art Club - A friendly place to do art and receive feedback on your work from fellow artists. The Art Club provides space and materials for all skill levels.

  • Ceramics Club - This is a forum for anyone interested in ceramics or pottery to create and share knowledge together.

  • Western Washington Photography Club - A group of students who are interested in expanding their knowledge of photography.

  • WWU B Gallery - This is a student-run, safe, professional, and supportive space for students to independently and creatively exhibit their work. It is an ideal space for artists to organize what is often their first exhibition.

I couldn’t have asked for better experiences in teaching students and creating work. The authentic instruction in art taught at Western will keep graduates in the forefront of the job market.

Mariah Klemens


What can you do with this major?

Interaction with a faculty of practicing artists, visiting artists, professional and student exhibitions, international study, as well as the resources of the larger university, foster informed, engaged, and creative graduates, preparing them for professional careers and graduate studies.

Art Education careers

  • Art Educator
  • Art Therapy
  • Elementary School Teacher

Western Art alumni have gone on to pursue their passions, including:

  • Robert McCauley: National Endowment for the Arts fellowship recipient and professional painter
  • Eugenie Tung: Head teacher for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Education Program
  • Jim Goldberg: Author of seven books, National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and professional photographer
  • Virginia Troy: Associate professor of Art History at Berry College