Student painting

Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts

Embrace the unexpected so you can be free to risk and grow as an artist.

Making transcendent art requires that you reach into your most tender and aware places to find what you alone have to say.

To help you find that artistic voice—we view this as a sacred trust.

The Naropa University Visual Arts Bachelor's degree program embraces the unexpected so you can be free to risk and grow. Exploring object making and art history from multicultural perspectives strengthens ancestral connections, and develops skills and ideas that will enhance your abilities and vision. Through contemplation, studio work, and compassionate one-on-one mentoring, you will enter the path of becoming a balanced individual with a conscious art practice, business knowledge, and a powerful identity with which to engage the world.

This is profound preparation for an artist. Our Naropa University Visual Arts alumni have gone on to successful careers, pursuing advanced degrees in art, art history, art therapy and library science, as well as to become professional exhibiting artists, photographers, art teachers, arts administrators, and designers.

Art Studios

Naropa has eight individual art studios to support your Visual Arts degree journey. Assigned on a seniority basis, many of our senior students receive a studio all to themselves.


Enhance your degree with a minor in Contemplative Art Therapy or Film and Media Studies. 

Naropa Art Galleries and Community

The arts are integral to Naropa University life. Naropa vibrates with the free exchange of ideas among the performers, writers, scholars, healers, and other artists who study and teach here. This inspiring, supportive environment is where you will evolve as an artist. Naropa is also home to five art galleries, which exhibit works by students, faculty, alumni, and visiting artists. The Lounge Gallery on our Nalanda Campus features the work of current students.

Explore art galleries


Portfolio & Gallery Presentation

Create a professional digital portfolio of your work, artist’s statement, and exhibit your work at the Naropa Nalanda Gallery as a senior project.

View Naropa student art work


Featured Visual Arts Courses

  • 2-D Design: Art Techniques and Experimentation
  • The Contemplative Artist
  • The Warrior Artist: Risk and Revelation in Studio Art
See all Courses


Program Learning Outcomes

  • Written artist statements demonstrate students’ fluency in artistic language and their ability to articulate their artistic process.
  • Students create a digital portfolio as a professional tool.
  • Students articulate how contemplative perspectives inform their art and their experiences in the world.
  • Students execute every aspect of having a professional art exhibition including installation design, curatorial skills, written content, and staging an opening.
  • Students demonstrate competency in public speaking with projected images.
  • In an oral presentation, students articulate and demonstrate the influence of contemporary art on their work.


Credits Required


You will complete 120 credit hours as part of your contemplative undergraduate education at Naropa.

Degree Requirements

Student Highlight

"To live a meaningful life, I need to be somehow serving society. That's why I decided on Naropa. This was the only school that could offer me a unique way of learning and foster an education suited to help me change the world one act of kindness at a time."

— Sophie Purnell
Visual Arts BA, 2016


Faculty Highlight

I love mentoring our students—they are such individuals—and helping to guide them to be amazing artists and empowered individuals. Naropa is a very rewarding place to work and watch students completely blossom within their own parameters and to reach for that professional level. To watch them transform is such a gift.”

— Sue Hammond West, MFA

Dean, Naropa’s School of Arts
Chair, Visual Arts Bachelor's Degree Program

learn more about the faculty


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