We are well known as one of the best foundation art programs in the state of California, and our students are regularly recruited and given scholarships by the most prominent art schools in the country. These include California Institute of the Arts, Art Center College of Art and Design, San Francisco Art Institute, the Chicago Art Institute, Rhode Island College of Art and Design and the California College of Arts and Crafts.


Courses emphasize building a foundation for executing and understanding paintings with coursework focusing on the use and application of painting media, composition and theory; painting with a variety of subject matter; emphasis on further use of acrylic and oil paint; painting with the live model.

Contemporary Art Theory and Practice

Contemporary Art Theory and Practice explore art practices and issues currently underlying fine art activity with emphasis on the influence of modern and postmodern values on art making. The courses in this program offer an innovative, experimental, interdisciplinary, studio-based environment for exploring a variety of both traditional and non-traditional art forms.

2-Dimensional Design

2-D Design emphasis: seeks to provide learning experiences that allow students to become fluent in the fundamentals of visual design language. Students will gain a new understanding of how design enhances and defines various aspects of culture and our physical world.

Digital Design emphasis: integrates fine art visual concepts with digital technology by formulating an appreciation of the visual arts, computer-based learning, and skills developed to embrace change and address real-world issues. Emphasis on learning the conceptual framework of contemporary media implementation while acquiring practical skills applicable to digital media and traditional fine art practices help fulfill creative art-making potential.

3-Dimensional Design, Ceramics, Sculpture and Jewelry

3-D Design: This course explores the basic problems in 3-D design using plastic, metal, wood and other materials. (Recommended for Design, gallery installation, Ceramics, and Sculpture majors.

Ceramics: while promoting growth in conceptual, technical and aesthetic approaches, the Ceramics area of concentration offers instruction that includes a wide base of processes and techniques designed to encourage individual expression and creativity. Courses include hand building, mold-casting and wheel forming methods with emphasis on surface decoration, glazing, glaze chemistry, stacking, and firing.

Sculpture: courses include formal and spatial problems which emphasize modeling with clay and carving with stone; further exploration of sculptural materials and techniques; individual growth and direction; opportunities to further explore stone carving using pneumatic tools with an emphasis on individual interpretation.

Mentor Program

The Art Mentor Program serves a unique learning experience for a select group of students in the Santa Monica College Art Department. Students work intensively with faculty members, visiting artists and fellow students towards the development of individual bodies of work.

Art Gallery

The SMC Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery features exhibits of the best in contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, and hosts SMC’s annual student and faculty art shows. Each exhibit has an opening reception where artists, students, and members of the community can gather to enjoy and exchange ideas on the works presented.

Program Level Outcomes

  1. The student will demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of Art and Art History in order to develop creative and critical thinking solutions to various Art and Art History issues.

  2. The student will be able to look at an artistic situation, whether in implementation or analysis, in order to develop and create a strategy for its solution.