Practicing Arts at Oberlin

In the studio, on set, on stage, in the world, Oberlin artists are thinking artists.

The practicing arts at Oberlin combines intensive studio training in a chosen medium with the intellectual dynamism of a liberal arts campus. Our students find their creative direction by working closely with faculty artists and collaborating on groundbreaking work with their friends and peers.

Oberlin Practicing Arts at a Glance

8 curricular pathways
100+ Productions and Performances each Year
30+ Workshop Courses Every Semester
#1 Creative Writing Major in the Country

Art empowers change.

Art is a powerful tool for inspiring social change. It touches our hearts and minds and stirs us to act. From poetry in local schools, to nationally recognized documentaries and Black arts on a global stage, Oberlin artists help to transform the world.

A professor in a fedora-style hat teaches in a drama studio.

Professor Justin Emeka’s production of The Glass Menagerie reimagined the Wingfields as a Black family in East St. Louis during the turbulence of the early 20th century.

Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Practicing Arts in the Curriculum

An Oberlin arts education is interdisciplinary at every level. Our students stay attuned to the latest cultural trends while creating spaces to experiment and push the boundaries of traditional forms.

Julia Christensen, Professor of Studio Art

A professor sits by a long table, on which there is a projector and a variety of lenses.
Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Roll Up Your Sleeves

From fiction workshops to the letterpress, sculpture studios to fabrication labs, Oberlin students gain hands-on experience at every stage of the artistic process.

A student works at a printing press.
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

The Campus Is Your Stage

With numerous faculty-led and student-driven productions, readings, exhibitions, and performances, the Oberlin campus invites students to create a vibrant, year-round artistic community.

People set up cameras at an outdoor film shoot in winter.
Photo credit: Mike Crupi

Form and Feeling

An Oberlin arts education combines critical inquiry with rigorous daily practice to prepare students for a lifelong creative career.


Two dancers rehearse in a dance studio.
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

The College-Conservatory Connection

Oberlin’s college-conservatory synergy inspires profound collaborations between musicians and artists working in dance, film, theater, creative writing, and new media forms.

A multimedia performance includes a glowing projection behind a bassist.
Photo credit: Dale Preston ’83

During my four years at Oberlin I always felt heard, encouraged, and inspired. With support from both my professors and peers, I learned the true meaning of creative freedom and collaboration.

Christy Chen ’22
Cinema Studies major
Currently pursuing an MFA in Filmmaking at USC

Standing in front of a wall where bundles of cables hang on hooks, a student holds a video camera and smiles.
Photo credit: Photographer Name

Obies in the Arts

Each Obie has their own unique pathway through college and beyond. Read a sampling of creative alumni profiles.

Dance Practice as Research

After a six-month exploration of performance in Filipino American communities, Kara Nepomuceno ’20 performed “Side by Side” at the Asia Pacific Dance Festival Conference.

Kara Nepomuceno.

Stories for a Global Community

Olive Nwosu ’13 discovered her creative passion in Cinema Studies and is now completing an MFA in Screenwriting at Columbia, where she’s a BAFTA Scholar, an Alex Sichel Fellow at Columbia University School of the Arts, and one of four African Promises directors in the Institut Français’ Africa-2020 Programme.

Olive Nwosu.

A Career in Theater

Arif Silverman ’15 was a theater major at Oberlin who took plenty of courses in English, French, and classics. He is now a New York-based actor and writer with credits in theater, film, and radio, as well as a children’s musical and three solo shows.

Arif Silverman.

Early Success as a Playwright

At Oberlin, B.J. Tindal worked closely with professor Caroline Jackson Smith. Upon completing the graduate program in writing for the screen and stage at Northwestern University, the 2016 alum returned to campus for the opening of the Oberlin theater mainstage production of What We Look Like, a play he developed during his first year at Oberlin.

BJ Tindal.

Novelist and MacArthur Winner

Kiese Laymon ’98, a writer and educator whose works chronicle the Black experience through the lens of his Mississippi upbringing, was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for 2022, one of the nation’s most prestigious and lucrative honors.

Kiese seated on a bench.

Writing for Comedy

Since graduating from Oberlin, Max Cohn ’14 has been a contributing humor writer for McSweeney’s and the New Yorker. He has also worked in television for The Simpsons and Comedy Central.

Max Cohn.

Next Steps

Get in touch; we would love to chat.

Two men in street clothes dance on the pavement in a park, in front of an audience seated in the grass.
Photo credit: Mike Crupi