Visual Arts Facilities

Visual Arts at Roger Williams University introduces the students to a wide range of media specialties from the traditional materials of painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics to new media in photography, digital media and video.

Visual Arts students work in several specialized spaces across the campus and off-campus in our studios located on the historic Bristol Common.  As a result, art is everywhere and integrated into the fabric of the campus community in maker spaces as well as exhibition spaces.

On Campus

The Fine Arts Center – affectionately known on campus as “The Muffin”, houses the traditional arts disciplines of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking.


Picture of the sculpture Bristol Campus, Fine Arts Center 101 & 102
The first-floor sculpture studio contains a “Fabrication Lab” with light woodworking capabilities, space for casting and other multimedia fabrication methods.  A flexible space used for assembly is also converted to exhibition space at various times during the year to feature student work.  When needed, VARTS students have access to a well-appointed wood shop in the SAAHP Building.

Drawing, Painting and Printmaking

Image of Drawing studioBristol Campus, Fine Arts Center 201 & 202
The second-floor studio space features large windows and high ceilings allowing for plenty of natural light.  The flexible and open floor plan allows students to move between media, interact with one another and find spaces to work outside of class.  The printmaking area has a production space for the creation of plates and has capabilities to offer relief, intaglio and silkscreen.  A large, Takach etching press is used for both woodblock and metal plate printing from small to large scale.


7-Mac-Lab.jpgBristol Campus, North Campus Residence Hall, Room 119
Students working in Digital Media; Film, Animation and Video and Digital Photography work in the VARTS Digital Lab.  MAC Computers with the Adobe Creative Suite and other tools allow for video and photo editing as well as animation.  Fine Art printing capabilities up to large-scale allow students to see their work realized in print.  VARTS maintains an inventory of cameras, projectors that students may check out and use in their work.

DarkroomImage of the darkroom

Bristol Campus, School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation Building, Room 118
Roger Williams has a 16-station darkroom where film photography and developing is taught.  Students find magic in the process and the concept of light forming an image is central to the idea of photography.


At 220 and 235 High Street, on the historic Town Common of Bristol, there are two decommissioned school buildings formerly used by Bristol elementary students.  Those school buildings are now home to an array of local artists, artisans, designers, musicians and small businesses.  Roger Williams maintains classroom spaces in these buildings as a way to extend our media capabilities, provide studio space for our upper-level students and bring those students into closer proximity to the creative community of Bristol.

Students enrolled in classes at the Reynolds or Byfield School take the University Shuttle from the RWU main entrance stop directly to our off-campus studios. The shuttle will pick up at High St following classes to return students to campus. 

Reynolds Clay StudioImage of clay studio, Reynolds

Reynolds School, 235 High St, Bristol, Ground Floor
Opened in 2016, Roger Williams University created a ceramics studio in the former Reynolds Elementary School.  With 3 large kilns, we offer an array of courses in both hand-building and wheel-throwing.

Byfield Studios

Image of byfield studioByfield School, 220 High St, Bristol, 2nd and 3rd Floor
Upper-level VARTS students are given semi-individualized workspaces.  At the upper levels, students are working on more self-directed bodies of work.  The Byfield studios give students room to work and maintain a space of their own that supports their work.  Students become part of the creative community, interacting with the resident artists and the Byfield Art and Design Group.  A large, open classroom hosts critiques, discussions, installations as well as pop-up exhibitions.