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The Department of Fine Arts offers a comprehensive and balanced undergraduate programme for students in order to prepare them for future careers in the arts. Such careers include that of artist, art historian, museum curators, and other art-related professions.

One of the programme objectives is to focus on Chinese art in a gobal context. A wide range of courses in Chinese art practices and history is offered alongside Western art history and studio training. Whenever possible, interaction between the fields is stressed. This integrated approach reflects Hong Kong’s special role as an advanced, multi-cultural city.

The Department also puts equal emphasis upon studio and art history courses. As a result, our graduates are better-rounded, and better equipped for professional careers in the arts.

The courses taugh will prepare students for careers in the arts. The Department constantly revises existing courses and introduces new courses to meet the trends and needs of the society. It also organizes professional training courses and internship programmes for students to learn practical approaches to future careers as professional artists, art educators, art administrators, etc.

In Search of Beauty and Truth

The undergraduate programme in Fine Arts at CUHK offers a unique and comprehensive curriculum which emphasizes both the study of art history and the practice of studio art. Students are exposed to a wide variety of art-related topics, including traditional Chinese and Western art, as well as contemporary art and culture.

The programme attracts a large number of applicants every year, from which the Department of Fine Arts would select 20 outstanding secondary school graduates to join the cohort. Candidates are evaluated on their academic performances, artistic talents and passions, eagerness to learn and willingness to work hard throughout the four years of study.

Yau Yuen-yum was one of the undergraduate students admitted and she feels very privileged to be given the opportunity to study Fine Arts at CUHK. Yuen-yum thinks that the programme has enabled her to understand more about this broad and creative subject and allowed her to develop a clear direction for her future career.

‘The programme has made me realize that as a young artist or a student of fine arts, you do not only study different art forms and create pieces of art alone in the studio. With the guidance of my professors and instructors, I have come to understand that art-making can be a socially engaging process and an important piece of artwork can actually have significant impacts on the cultural development of the society,’ she said.

Yuen-yum is particularly impressed by the teachings of her professors. ‘They are all devoted educators with abundant knowledge and artistic experiences in their specialized fields. Their guidance and support become the driving forces behind my constant pursuit of truth and beauty.’

She has also developed a very close relationship with her fellow classmates, with whom she spends days and nights working in the art studio in Cheng Ming Building. There are times when the entire class has to curate an exhibition together and Yuen-yum recalls the experience to be truly unforgettable.    

‘An exhibition is more than just a display of artworks. It is a process that involves careful planning and thoughtful curatorial design. I’ve also learnt that a successful exhibition needs an effective advertising campaign and as a curator, you have to get used to socializing with various guests and supporters of the exhibition,’ she said.

Yuen-yum has received a once-in-a-life-time internship opportunity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Working in one of the world’s most famous art museum has been an eye-opening experience for Yuen-yum, who is keen to acquire hands-on experiences in art administration.

‘The Department of Fine Arts has been actively developing exchange and internship opportunities for our undergraduate students. We also frequently invite internationally renowned artists and art experts as visiting scholars to deliver lectures and provide students with information about the latest development in the art world,’ remarked Prof. Frank Vigneron, Chair of the Department of Fine Arts at CUHK.

For Yuen-yum, the trainings offered by the Fine Arts programme in terms of coursework, studio-art practice, exhibition management, overseas exchange, internship programme and  lectures given by distinguished artists and art experts have enriched her understanding of various art genres and enabled her to cultivate an open and creative attitude towards artistic creations of both traditional and experimental styles.           

‘The knowledge and skills acquired from this programme are extremely valuable as they can be applied to many different career fields,’ said Yuen-yum.

Over the years, graduates of the Fine Arts programme in CUHK have been playing a significant role in the local and global art scene as artists, designers, art educators, art administrators, art historians, and curators. Many of them have also pursued further studies and obtained MFA degrees in Studio Art and MPhil degrees in Art History from various renowned art institutions.

If you are interested in pursuing a major that would allow you to unleash your creativities, Yuen-yum has a few words of encouragement for you:

‘The undergraduate programme in Fine Arts at CUHK would equip you with the skills of art-making, art criticism and research, event organization and exhibition management. It may seem to be a competitive programme to get in, but don’t be intimidated–get your portfolio ready and be prepared to show your artistic flair during the admission interview. We look forward to welcoming more creative talents in our Fine Arts cohort.’

Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2020