Student working in the painting studio.


Students may advance their skills in Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Jewelry, Sculpture, Photography, or Art Foundation.

The Art Department at San Juan College strives to be a place where artist of all interests and skill levels can come to participate and develop.

The creative process in visual arts – conception, creation, critique, revision, and exhibition, shape the intellectual foundation for any individual to become an independent and critical thinker. The Fine Arts curriculum develops the capabilities of emerging artist because it is centered in liberal arts studies and combined with applied studio courses.

Students may advance their skills in Drawing and Painting, Ceramics, Jewelry, Sculpture, Photography, or Art Foundation.

Areas of Creative Study

As a drawing and painting student, you will study not only drawing and painting, but also art appreciation, art history, design, and other studio arts. You will have well-equipped studios and instruction in a wide range of techniques. 

San Juan College’s drawing and painting students spent a lot of time in studio classes creating original works, studying aspects of the field and examining a variety of media with which to work.
The studio art faculties are accomplished artists in their respective fields, maintaining private studios and gallery contacts. Art faculty exhibits widely and travels extensively to maintain a current and high status in their field.
As a drawing and painting student the studio art program, you will get a great deal of hands-on experience in your classes.

Students work on painting in art studio.

A concentration on Ceramics is designed to assist student to achieve excellence in his or her personal direction in the medium. The curriculum is structured to challenge the student both conceptually and technically through a series of progressively more intense assignments and experiences. Early emphasis is placed on a common foundation in basic fabrication and decorating techniques and is followed by opportunities to expand those skills in upper level courses.

While primarily oriented around the functional vessel, a wide variety of approaches to clay are recognized and encouraged, including sculptural and conceptual pursuits. The ceramics area familiarizes students with the terminology of the field, and teaches use of the ceramic equipment, including the potter’s wheel, slab roller, extruder, clay mixer, and both electric and gas kilns. Students are expected to achieve an acceptable level of mastery of a number of these skills including clay construction, object decoration, and kiln firing.

It is our goal that students leaving the program be prepared for success in either undergraduate school employment within a ceramic studio, or self-employment in a ceramic production business.

Finished ceramics project with glaze and inlay work.

At San Juan College, students learn the fundamental skills in both digital and film photography while being challenged to create inspiring imagery. The photography program offers courses for those who’s goal is a career in photography and for those who are hobbyists. Courses focus on photography composition, camera operation, film processing, digital software, such as Adobe Photoshop, studio lighting, and location lighting.  

Photography Facilities

The photography facilities at San Juan College include a fully equipped lighting studio, computer labs, two darkrooms, and a finishing room.

The studio includes commercial flash lighting equipment and on location light kits, background drops, and props. Students learn studio and location flash lighting techniques used in commercial studios settings for both product and portrait photography.

Students learn both digital and film processing techniques. Computer labs with Adobe Photoshop program are used to teach digital processing while the two darkrooms and finishing room provide hands-on experience processing and developing film.

Photo using time stop technique

The Henderson Center for the Visual Arts (HCVA) is twenty thousand square feet space, devoted totally to the visual arts. The HCVA includes large instructional studios with high ceilings and excellent lighting. Through careful design of the building, we emphasize safety and a “close knit” relationship between art faculty and students that is a unique part of our academic program. To allow students easier accessibility to the faculty, most faculty offices and studios are located in the areas where the professors teach. Specialized classrooms are maintained for painting, drawing, ceramics, and photography.

The Art Department has a superior ceramic facility. The Henderson Fine Arts building built in 1994, houses 21 potters wheels, two slab rollers, six electric kilns, three gas kilns (2 gas/salt, an anagama wood fired and 2 raku kilns), clay mixing room, faculty studios, glaze mixing room, and large work space. The painting, drawing and design rooms have northern lighting, and a large working space.


San Juan College Henderson Fine Arts Gallery strives to educate our students and community about art and artists with a diverse exhibit schedule that showcases a wide variety of art forms and artists. Our exhibits change monthly throughout the spring and fall semesters. This schedule also includes Spring and Fall Art Student and Art Instructor exhibits. The Henderson Fine Arts Gallery has hosted exhibits from many national and local artists.

We also have a second gallery space in our Humanities Building Balcony study area. This area is meant to be a less formal setting where artists can gain constructive feedback during their experience while exhibiting.

San Juan College is also home to a Permanent Art Collection which includes the work of an extensive list of artists. To view a list of art and artists go to

The art gallery also sponsors workshops for students and community members. These workshops include National and local artists of much renown.

The entrance to the Henderson Art Gallery

Classes Offered

Explore all the various art classes San Juan College has available.

Art Classes Offered

Phone: (505) 566-3320

West Classroom Complex,
Room 1911

M-F 8 a.m - 5 p.m.