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Visual & Performing Arts

The Visual & Performing Arts Minors

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Art History  |  Graphic Design  |  Film Studies  |  Music
Studio Art  |  Theatre Arts  |  Visual Storytelling


Art History

Ellen Longsworth, Professor of Art History

Complete each of the following:

Course No.

Course Name

FAA 1710

Foundations of the Visual Arts

FAA 1610

Art History I: Prehistory to the Renaissance

FAA 1620

Art History II: The Renaissance to the Present


Studio Course


Elective, art history


Elective, art history


Graphic Design 

One of the following two courses in Art History:

  • FAA 1610 Art and Material Culture I: Prehistory to the Renaissance
  • FAA 1620 Art and Material Culture II: The Renaissance to the Present 

And the following six courses:

  • FAA 1230 2-Dimensional Design
  • FAA 2830 Layout Analysis and Construction
  • FAA 2840 Image Making and Meaning
  • FAA 3850 History of Graphic Design
  • FAA 2860 Graphic Design I
  • FAA ____ Elective course from required Graphic Design major coursework

Department electives for further study

  • FAA 2220 Cartooning and Illustration
  • FAA 2450 Basic Digital Photography
  • FAA 2850 Movie Making
  • FAA 3840 2-Dimensional Animation
  • FAA 3890 UX Design
  • FAA 4820 Motion Graphics

For information, contact:
Nancy Wynn
Associate Professor, Graphic Design


Film Studies

The Film Studies Minor (FS) provides a unique perspective on film from a constellation of fields and disciplines within the School of Liberal Arts, including Communication and Media, English, Women’s and Gender Studies, World Languages and Cultural Studies, and Visual and Performing Arts. This minor will equip students with tools to analyze the formal aspects of cinema, as well as its broader social, cultural, and historical significance. Students will also have the opportunity to learn film and video production techniques.

The minor is intended for students who wish to deepen their understanding of film history, analysis, video production, and editing. The Film Studies Minor can lead to opportunities in filmmaking, directing, editing, film criticism, and provide the background necessary to pursue graduate studies.

The minor requires the completion of a minimum of 18 credits, with a minimum of five courses (including 2 foundational courses and 3 elective courses) chosen from the list below and distributed so that no more than two elective courses can be taken from the same department.

Two of the following three foundational courses:

  • ENG 2100 History of Film
  • FAA 2850 Movie Making
  • COM 3425 The Film Experience
  • or one course in World Cinema

World Cinema Courses

  • FRE 3030 Cinema of the French-Speaking World
  • FRE 3040(W) Five Centuries of French Civilization in Films
  • ITA 2550 Italian-Americans and Film
  • ITA 2560(W) The Italian Southern Question in Literature and Film
  • ITA 2570/ITA2580 Italian Culture through Film I and II
  • SPA 3020 Latin American and Spanish Contemporary Film


No more than two elective courses can be taken from the same department (not including the core courses listed above)

  • COM 3312 (W) Television Criticism
  • COM 3422 Introduction to Television Production
  • COM 3425 The Film Experience
  • COM 4011 Special Topics: Video Production, Studio
  • ENG 2100 History of Film
  • ENG 2770 Literature and Film
  • ENG 3640 The Eighties: Literature, Film, and Culture in the Blockbuster Era
  • ENG 3735 Hollywood’s America: Gender, Race and Class in American Cinema
  • ENG 3745 Green Screen: Environmental Film
  • ENG 3755 World Cinema: Nordic Noir
  • FAA 2220 Cartooning and Illustration
  • FAA 2450 Basic Digital Photography
  • FAA 2850 Movie Making
  • FAA 3840 2D Animation
  • WGS 2420 Gender, Sex, and Film
  • WGS 3120 Women, Film, and the Politics of Representation
  • WLC 1200 Global Zombie

It is strongly recommended that students gain experience in film production. In addition, students might pursue internships, directed studies, or other options outside of the classroom.

Career Paths
The Film Minor is designed to develop students’ analytical and creative skills, while providing students with the opportunity to learn film and video production techniques. In both art and commercial settings, the IFS Minor can lead to opportunities in filmmaking, producing, screenwriting, directing, editing, film criticism, and more.

More Information
Nancy Wynn
Associate Professor, Graphic Design
or Joseph Vogel
Assistant Professor, English



Students at Merrimack College are provided with a wide variety of opportunities for performing and learning music. The Music Minor is offered for those who wish to complement their other studies with a more formal program of instruction. In addition to the class offerings, students can play their instruments in the Jazz Ensemble or the Pep Band, sing in a variety of choirs and solo settings – including open mic nights and talent shows – and, of course, perform on-stage or in the pit orchestra for the Broadway shows offered annually by The Visual and Performing Arts Department and the OnStagers Dramatic Society. The music program at Merrimack is designed to help students unlock their creative potential, while encouraging personal growth. Regardless of your experience level, you can follow your musical passion at Merrimack.

  • FAA1310The Nature of Music: The Art of Listening
  • FAA 2301 Music History I: Antiquity to the Baroque
  • FAA 2302 Music History II: Classical to the 21st Century
  • FAA 2360 Elementary Music Theory: Understanding Musical Notation
    FAA 2380 The Architecture of Music: From Phrase to Opera
  • Elective (Music Course)

To satisfy the Music Minor, students must demonstrate competence at a level sufficient to allow practical use of their instrument. This should include: the performance of a prepared piece, a demonstration of sight-reading ability, and a demonstration of technique. This demonstration must be to a senior music faculty member of the Department of Visual and Performing Art—preferably a public performance/presentation in the last year of their degree.

Additionally, students must participate for at least two semesters in at least one on-campus musical ensemble. Currently the music ensembles include Pep Band, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Choir, Merrimack Schola, and Mackapella. Alternatives such as participating in the Onstagers, or VPA musical pit orchestra may be approved by the senior music faculty member.

Group Lessons: group lessons are offered in guitar, voice and drums. There are practice rooms for piano in some dormitories and the Rogers Center for the Arts. A practice room in Cushing Hall is also available (when not in use for rehearsals).

If necessary, the department will attempt to help students arrange for private instruction. (Any private instruction will be at the expense of the student.)

Career Paths
Students enrolled in the Merrimack College Music Minor develop critical and analytical skills, plus habits of creativity and discipline, that are useful in nearly all careers. The Music Minor at Merrimack can be easily combined with a major to broaden a student’s career options. A student majoring in Business, for example, could add the Music Minor to prepare for a career in the recording industry, or arts management. Or, a student studying the Health Sciences could minor in Music in preparation for a master’s program in Music Therapy. Whether to enhance a student’s career options, or as preparation for graduate study, the Music Minor can be a valuable addition to the Liberal Arts foundation.

More Information
Laura Moore Pruett
Chair of Visual & Performing Arts
Associate Professor, Music


Studio Art 

  • FAA 1710 Foundations of the Visual Arts
  • FAA 1610 Art History I: Prehistory to the Renaissance
  • FAA 1620 Art History II: The Renaissance to the Present
  • FAA 1210 Basic Drawing I
  • Studio (Visual Art)
  • Studio (Visual Art)
  • Studio (Visual Art)

For information, contact:
David Raymond
Professor, Studio Art


Theatre Arts

The Theatre Arts Minor requires the completion of a minimum of 20 credits and a minimum of 5 courses, as specified below:

  • FAA 2520 Theatre History: Part I: Origins in the Renaissance
  •  FAA 2530 Theatre History: Part II: Restoration to the Present

Technical Theatre Requirement (1 Course)

  •  FAA 2570 Technical Production for the Theatre
    FAA 2580 Design for the Theatre

 Studio Requirement (1 Course)

  •  FAA 1510 Acting I
    FAA 2510 Acting II
    FAA 3510 Directing

Electives (1 Course)

  • FAA 1550 The Curtain Calls: An Introduction to Theatre for Everyone 251
  • FAA 2500 Women in Theatre
  • FAA 2540 Introduction to Playwriting
  • FAA 2550W American Musical Theater
  • FAA 2560 London Theatre
  • FAA 2585 Improvisation
  • FAA: 2586 Script Analysis

Studio courses listed above also may be considered as electives.

For information, contact:
Kathleen Sills
Associate Professor, Theatre


Visual Storytelling

The Visual Storytelling Minor is an interdisciplinary program that draws on curriculum from the English and Visual & Performing Arts Departments. The minor integrates art, storytelling and technology, introducing students to the field of creative visual storytelling utilizing interdisciplinary methodologies. It weaves design, illustration and narrative analysis, providing students with a solid foundation in graphic design and narration—plus cinematic, digital and traditional illustration techniques—as well as various approaches to storytelling for creative visual presentation.

The minor offers students the opportunity to concentrate in this focused area to satisfy an interest in the printed book and its film or digital adaptations, to prepare for further academic or professional study in visual storytelling and visual culture, or to work as cartoonists, graphic novelists, art directors in Advertising or Corporate Communication, Art or English teachers, or film and comics critics.

The minor requires the completion of a minimum of 18 credits, with a minimum of five (5) courses chosen from the list below and distributed so that at least two (2) are English courses and at least two (2) are FAA courses.

  • FAA 2220 Cartooning and Illustration
  • FAA 2830 Layout Analysis and Construction
  • FAA 2840 Image Making and Meaning
  • FAA 2850 Moviemaking
  • FAA 3840 2D Animation
  • ENG 2100 History of Film
  • ENG 2770 Literature and Film
  • ENG 3880 Michael Jackson: Reading the King of Pop as Cultural Text
  • ENG 3900 Creative Writing: Fiction

Career Paths
Stories are fundamental to human communication. The skills promoted by the Visual Storytelling Minor – the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, the ability to harness creativity in framing a message, the ability to educate and entertain, as well as the ability to build a “brand” – can be invaluable in a wide variety of career settings. Combined with a degree in Business, English, Graphic Design, Communications, and/or Theatre Arts, the Visual Storytelling Minor can enhance a student’s prospects for a career in advertising, marketing, corporate training, or any number of related fields.

More Information
Nancy Wynn
Associate Professor, Graphic Design

Joseph Vogel
Assistant Professor, English

More Info

MaryJane Wheeler
Administrative Assistant,
Visual and Performing Arts
Volpe 174

Kathleen Sills

Visual and Performing Arts 
Associate Professor, Theater