Visual Arts

Our Department of Visual Arts offers hands-on degree programs that develop both the technical and conceptual skills needed to transform ideas into art. As a Visual Arts student you will learn to:

  • Communicate visually through various media including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics
  • Develop studio skills through practical applications
  • Interpret the world, cultures, and daily life through a creative lens
  • Critically analyze visual culture 

In addition to the in-depth study of studio disciplines, our programs also include the study of art history and art theory, professional development, and outreach opportunities with local art galleries and creative organizations 

We are a relatively small Department with a close-knit community of student artists. Our small size allows our faculty to focus on you as an individual artist and offer personal attention within the studio class setting. We also attend a field trip each year to visit museums and galleries, to supplement the structure of in-class learning. Our classes have visited art and cultural centres in Toronto, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa, Minneapolis, and New York.

Our Department of Visual Arts hosts an annual Juried Student Art Exhibition to celebrate the high quality of student art produced as part of our programs. This event is unique to Lakehead University and draws in hundreds of art lovers, patrons, and collectors over the five-week exhibition period.

The Lakehead Advantage

We are one of the few universities in Ontario to offer ceramics as a studio path in all of our Visual Arts programs. Our ceramics studio is well-equipped to facilitate a wide range of clay practices and projects. You will learn about mold-making techniques, surface treatments, wheel throwing and hand building in clay, glaze application, firing oxidation, and reduction kilns with the guidance of a working ceramics artist.

Our Department of Visual Arts hosts an annual Juried Student Art Exhibition in which all students are invited to submit studio coursework to exhibit. The event is unique to Lakehead University and celebrates the high quality of student art produced as part of our programs. Artwork is chosen by a jury of Visual Arts instructors and later installed at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery for a five-week exhibition. The opening night includes an awards celebration with over $7000 in achievement awards presented to students for selected artworks in the exhibition.

Our location in the heart of Northwestern Ontario makes our campus and the surrounding region, one of the most beautiful places to study art in North America. If you are inspired by nature, this is the institution for you. Our students come from around the world foster their skills and creativity in a remote and tranquil environment conducive to creating original art.

We work closely with the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Definitely Superior Art Gallery, and many other local artist collaboratives. These organizations regularly visit our classes, contribute to course content, and recruit students for volunteer opportunities and community programming. We are proud to be a contributor to the vibrant art scene in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. 

In the final year of study, courses in Professional Practices for Artists and Exhibition Planning prepare you to build your own studio practice after graduation. This includes guidance on topics including grant writing, exhibiting in the gallery system, promotion/marketing, writing an artist statement, and more. It's our goal to provide you with the tools and the information necessary to succeed post-graduation that goes beyond technical skill and ability.  

What our Students Say

Visual ArtsThunder Bay, OntarioI knew Lakehead was for me when I took a tour of the art building and met the faculty. The Visual Arts department at Lakehead is very small when compared to other...




Visual Arts

Read more about Aaron  Veldstra's experience.

Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts), Native Teacher Education ProgramThunder Bay, ON I am an Anishinaabe artist who lives and works in Thunder Bay, and I’m a member of the Red Rock Indian...




Visual Arts

Read more about Cree Stevens's experience.