The department of art and art history was established in 1932 as a developmental tool for African-American visual arts. It began as a collaborative effort between Atlanta University and Spelman College, resulting in the first academic visual arts program for African-Americans in Georgia. It has a rich history, with celebrated Negro artists Hale Woodruff and Nancy Elizabeth Prophet as its founding faculty members.
Since the 1930s, the department has cultivated many of America’s most talented, dedicated Black artists and historians. Responsible for the education of both Spelman and Morehouse visual arts majors, the department’s alumnae/alumni include many dynamic arts professionals that have played a major role in bringing the African-American arts perspective to the forefront of the visual arts arena.
For more on the history of Spelman's department of art and art history, see Spelman Renaissance, the Birth of Artistic Brilliance.