visual communication class with professor gutowsky

Create and transform

The SPU Art Department exists to build strong artists, designers and cultural researchers within a tightly-knit and versatile program.

Find your path

Students from our program go on to work creatively; spanning disciplines across the fine arts, photography, design, and art history. In our department, students take a variety of courses and build skills in traditional methods as well as interactive and digital media; while exploring the spiritual nature of art and design.

Our mission

The Art Department at SPU prepares students to pursue a wide range of disciplines — all of them demanding a healthy dose of empathy. To make art and design, or even to successfully talk about art and design, practitioners must develop a self-awareness that helps them tap into the universal human experience. Then they must use empathy to connect with others and determine how that experience can be communicated across persons, cultures, time, and space. Art and design translate deep inner experiences so that they can be shared. Truly successful works of art and design can help connect people who have never met; they can help us realize that all of us, everywhere, are preciously and profoundly human, with the same wounds, the same desires, the same delights, and the same aspirations. Seattle Pacific University aims to equip all students to understand and interface with the diverse communities of the Pacific Northwest, the United States, and the world. We’re motivated to do this thanks to the Christian conviction that everyone, everywhere, is made in the image of God. The Art Department is an important contributor to that mission. In our work, whether we’re using design to raise awareness of global challenges, paint or film to gain poetic insight into human suffering or research and writing skills to uncover and translate artistic meaning, we proceed with deep respect and, yes, empathy. We hope our students go out into the world a little wiser and a little more compassionate. Ultimately, we have faith that our graduates will be part of the change — part of the Spirit’s yearning for greater peace and harmony in the world.

“For me, the arts are about empathy. And in this time of national and global division, empathy is more important than ever before.”

Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman (she/her)
Chair, Art Department Professor + Program Director, Visual Communication Design


Zack Bent

Assistant Professor of Art

BARCH and BS, Ball State University, 1999; MA, Ball State University, 2003; MFA, University of Washington, 2008


Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman

Professor of Art-Visual Communications; Chair of Art Department

BFA, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, 1984; MFA, University of Washington, 2000


Katie Kresser

Professor of Art

PhD, Harvard University


Alison Stigora

Assistant Professor of Sculpture

BFA, Southern Adventist University, 2004; MFA, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2007


Kira Schuttler

Art Center Program Coordinator



Contact us

The Art Department, commonly known as the Seattle Pacific Art Center, or SPAC, is a haven for creative students and is located near the heart of campus. The Art Center houses a Drawing/Painting Studio, Sculpture Studio, Metal Studio, Design Studio, a well-equipped computer lab and a lecture hall. It also includes SPAC Gallery, which presents a series of diverse exhibitions by professional artists each year and hosts the annual student exhibitions each Spring. Offsite studio space for senior art and design students is also available.

Do you have questions?

Department Chair
Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman



Address: 3 West Cremona Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206-281-2079
SPAC Gallery Hours: M–Th 9am–4pm
*The Art Gallery closes for the summer on the last day of Spring Quarter finals

Get directions


Visitors can park for free in the Ross parking lot during evenings and weekends. It is located at the corner of Third Ave W and W Cremona St.

Free street parking is available around campus. Please note that some streets have parking time limits.

Additional visitor parking can be prearranged by calling Campus Security at 206-281-2922.