Skip to main content

Visual and Performing Arts Department

Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus
Visual and Performing Arts Department


Visual Arts

Need Advising?

Art majors whose home campus is TP/SS are invited to reach out to Department Chair Norberto Gomez at any time if you need assistance with course planning for future semesters.  

Montgomery College is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

As a student in the Visual Arts program, you will benefit from intensive and innovative studio art practice, and an outstanding education in the liberal arts and humanities—the basis for creative thought that fuels artistic expression. Visual Arts students are given flexibility to take a wide variety of classes in their art major, as well as many courses in the liberal arts. This interdisciplinary approach gives you more options when transferring to four-year schools as well as greater room for personalization within your studio courses, enabling you to focus on a specific medium in your second year, if you so choose. When you are ready to transfer, faculty work closely with you to select the school that is best for you, and to prepare your portfolio and application materials. Students in Visual Arts transfer to art schools and art programs at four-year colleges and universities with great success.

Our degree programs prepare you to pursue many paths after completing your studies—students become practicing artists, gallery owners, graphic designers, museum preparators, and exhibit and set designers, to name just a few of the fields our graduates have entered.

An Experienced and Dedicated Art Faculty  
The hallmark of the Visual Arts program is close interaction between students, faculty, and staff—a special relationship that often continues years after students transfer and begin their careers. Visual Arts faculty enjoy teaching in a vibrant international community where 10 countries might be represented in a single class. 
An experienced core of full-time art faculty are joined by adjunct faculty, all practicing artists in their fields. The diverse background and artistic expertise of the entire faculty provides students with many sources of inspiration to draw from in developing their own personal aesthetic. 

A Long-Standing History of Excellence
Since its founding in 1962, the Visual Arts program has flourished in the nurturing environment of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. In fall 2007, the department moved into the newly renovated Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, a state-of-the art, award-winning facility, adjacent to Jesup Blair Park. 


AA or AFA?
Not sure which major or degree is right for you? We can help! Learn more about majoring in media, art, and design..

Art Student Internship Opportunities
Montgomery College Arts Institute is partnering with the Hirshhorn Museum, Glenstone Museum, BlackRock Center for the Arts, VisArts - Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts, and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County to offer art internship opportunities for qualified MC students. To qualify as a candidate, you must have at least a 3.2 GPA, completed 15 art related credits, and be currently enrolled at Montgomery College. Application and Details (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window)

Visual Arts FAQ

I like art, but not sure I want to major in it. Does an art major just take art classes?
The Visual Arts Department at MC TP/SS believes that our art majors benefit from a broad liberal arts education that allows them to take a full range of general education classes in English, Math, Social Sciences, and Science as well as art classes. Our curriculum is designed to provide a foundation of introductory art classes in drawing, design, and art history the first year, followed by advanced course work in upper level art classes of the student’s choice during the second year.

I plan to transfer to a University after leaving MC, will I be able to transfer if I am an art major?
Yes, our curriculum is designed to align with other universities and colleges. Because of our strong Gen Ed component, the transition Is usually a smooth one, made easier if you receive your AA before you transfer.

What happens if I decide I really want to go to art school, not a University?
Every art school has slightly different requirements, but many of our students have successfully transferred to MICA, RISD, the San Francisco Arts Institute, California College of Arts and Crafts, Chicago Arts Institute, Otis Art Institute, RIT, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, etc.

For art majors, what purpose is served by taking these general education classes?
All art has content. There is much more to making a piece of art than having good technique and craftsmanship. We believe that classes in music, literature, science, math, sociology, and history enrich a student’s life, informing the art that they make as they draw from the experiences that a liberal arts education provides.

Can you be more specific?
A nursing student made beautiful aquatint etchings with amoeba like shapes that emerged from her scientific knowledge. Another student used old family photographs to make prints that explored the links between ancestors and the present generation. A student with interest in film made a video of experimental images he had drawn and painted, and created a DVD. One’s life experiences have a profound effect on the art that one makes. A liberal arts college education can be the beginning of connecting experience to your images and making art that reflects your life.

But do art majors get jobs?
Yes, they do, in a variety of art related occupations. Our art majors have become practicing artists, museum docents and exhibition designers. They teach at all levels, college, K thru 12, private and public. They are practicing photographers, movie makers, carpenters, lighting designers, museum curators, artists’ assistants, web designers, and exhibition designers. Some are community activists, owners of crafts stores, professional framers, arts organizers, camp directors, and graphic designers.

I love art, but I really want to be a nurse. Do I have to be an art major to take art classes?
Our department is committed to bringing art into the lives of as many students as possible. We are delighted to have nurses, engineers, and English majors in our classes, because the life experiences of people from different backgrounds broadens the experience of the entire class. We believe that the diversity of our population strengthens the educational experience one can have. For example, an assignment to draw your dreams can produce a variety of images -- a student from Ghana produced a pastoral landscape with a small hut, a student from Guatemala drew a colorful table covered with food and bright dishes. A football fan drew a football splitting the uprights. Another student drew his dog curled up on an oval rug, and another drew a tree full of blossoms on a grassy lawn. When we see the dreams of other students, we can understand them more and reflect on our dreams with added insight. Artists get ideas from what they see and experience. The MC experience is unique in that it draws from so many countries and cultural experiences.

Notable Alumni

Our graduates have an impressive transfer record which includes recent enrollments at Virginia Commonwealth University, St. Mary's College of Maryland, James Madison University, University of Maryland Undergraduate and Graduate Schools, San Francisco Art Institute, The Maryland Institute College of Art, Yale Graduate School, and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Iona Rozeal Brown, painter
After receiving a B.S. from the University of Maryland, Iona Rozeal Brown began studying painting at Montgomery College, Takoma Park. She spent a year at Pratt and then transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute where she graduated with a B.F.A. and was the class valedictorian. In 2002 she received an M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art. She taught at the Takoma Park Campus before deciding to paint full time.

Iona paints images of ancient Japanese subjects, but infuses them with elements of hip hop. Using cornrows, afros, adidas, and d.j. accessories, Brown explores the Japanese youth obsession with hip-hop culture. She has studied and lived in Japan and traveled widely in her pursuit of cross cultural influences in art. She currently lives in Maryland, and paints in her Washington, D. C. studio, while showing in New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Switzerland during 2008. She has an international reputation and has been favorably reviewed in numerous critical publications, including The New York Times. She is also a DJ and has performed at many clubs.

Dawn Robyn Petrlik - dawnrobyn.comnew window
Dawn Robyn Petrlik graduated from Montgomery College with an A.A. degree in Fine Art and transferred to James Madison University where she received a B.F.A. in fine art. She became very interested in theater set design while there and applied to the School of Drama at Yale University to pursue this interest. She was accepted and received an M.F.A. in Design. She also studied fine art at the Sorbonne in Paris. Soon after her graduation from Yale, Dawn began designing sets for plays and musical productions in New York and has a very successful career. She has designed sets for Radio City Music Hall, the Tony Awards, Broadway and off Broadway theatre productions,as well as television and film projects. Recently she has been concentrating on making paintings and sculpture in her Brooklyn studio and exhibiting widely. Dawn received the Montgomery College Distinguished Alumna Award. 

Dennis Beach, Painter, Sculptor - dennisbeach.tvnew window
After completing service in the Navy, Dennis came to the TP/SS campus to study art in the Visual Arts Department. From MC he transferred to the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, receiving a B.F.A.   He received his Masters of Fine Art in Sculpture from the University of Delaware in 2005. Both a painter and a sculptor, Dennis has shown his work in many group and one person shows  in Wilmington, Philadelphia and New York and is represented by the Schmidt Dean Gallery in Philadelphia. 

Jan Heath, Printmaker, Gallery Owner - jheath.comnew window
Jan Heath grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended the University of Kentucky, University of Md. and Montgomery College, Takoma Park, Md.  In reference to her time at MC, she writes “Montgomery College was the perfect place for me, very encouraging and nurturing, I loved my time there and didn’t want to leave.”

Jan and her husband Jonathan left Takoma Park to build a house and studio in Berkeley Springs where Jan has been making prints ever since.  In  1992 they opened the Heath Studio  Gallery, and have been making art full time since that time. Jan has developed her own original techniques and returned to our campus to demonstrate them in a printmaking workshop. 

Eglon Daley, Painter, Muralist
Eglon Daley came to Montgomery College straight from Montgomery Blair High School. Whether he is painting a scene from his Blue Mountains in Jamaica or a downtown street scene In Adams Morgan, Eglon expresses his ideas seamlessly.  Eglon has received numerous awards and commissions . He has three large mural size paintings at One Judiciary Square and six balustrade panels in porcelainized steel at the Washington National Airport. His work has been exhibited widely in the Washington area including shows at Market Five Gallery, Washington Project for the Arts, the International Monetary Fund, The Charles Sumner School/Archives, Hood College, and Montgomery College. In addition, Eglon's work was part of a group show at the Domi Nostrae Gallery in Lyon, France. He has received awards and scholarships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Montgomery County Art Association, and Montgomery County Arts Council.  He was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award of Montgomery College in 2005.

Miguel Rivera
Miguel graduated from Visual Arts with a focus in graphic design and painting. He is a professional painter, muralist, and designer of clothing and digital art. He is also the designer of many CD covers and logos as well as being a vocalist. he has been performing with DJ Diesel Soulflex and his "Soundtrack to Nemesis" came out in 2008. Miguel also became a studio engineer in 2007 after receiving his training from the Los Angeles Recording School in Hollywood, California.

Kay Hwang -
After leaving Montgomery College TP/SS, Kay received a BFA from Southern Illinois University and then an MFA from the University of Georgia, Athens in 2000. She is a full-time practicing artist and is represented by galleries in Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia,and New York. She has exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions.

Trevor Young, painter - trevoryoung.netnew window
Trevor Young studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art for a year and then returned to Takoma Park, studying at Montgomery College for two years before transferring to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he received a B.F.A. degree. Trevor's work has been shown across the United States, including exhibits at the Corcoran Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and galleries in Florida, New York, Kentucky, and California. He recently had a one person show at the Flashpoint Gallery in Washington, D.C..

Performing Arts

The performing arts area includes the disciplines of dance, film,music, and theater. Students may select from diverse offerings in introductory and advanced courses in these disciplines. A wide variety of courses fulfill the art distribution requirement under the colleges general education program. The Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus offers Montgomery College's only array of film classes including film writing, movie production, and editing.

The department produces two to three theater productions per year in the Cultural Arts Center which is the home of the performing arts on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. The Cultural Arts Center has two theaters, the Main Theater, which is a 500 seat proscenium theater, and the Studio Theater, which is a 116 seat modified thrust theater.  Specialty classrooms include a large, glass walled dance studio and a 16 station piano lab with individual keyboards.  

Meet Our Faculty and Staff

Exhibitions and Performances

Noncredit Courses and Training

Community Arts provides noncredit classes for professional and aspiring artists, taught by working artists. We build our schedule based on community needs and interests, so we'd love to hear from you! Find out more.