Liberal Arts

Students sitting at a park with a large orange-flowered tree in front of them

Elevate Your Creative and Intellectual Abilities


The word “Liberal” comes from the root word liber, which means freedom or liberation. It is the mission of all LCAD Liberal Arts courses to liberate students from old patterns of thought and stagnant definitions of success and meaning. Ultimately, those who better understand the world gain the tools to help shape culture and meaning within their own communities and globally. Whether you are an artist or a designer, the knowledge that you gain about the history and current state of culture will resonate in your work. At LCAD, your liberation from conventional classes will be reflected in your liberation from your old worldviews.

LCAD’s progressive Liberal Arts curriculum is designed to teach you diverse methods of critical and lateral thinking and to instill better habits of mind, which, in turn, prime you for more effective creative output. Our coursework combine traditional subjects with new and innovative methodologies to engage you and to make a lasting effect on the whole you.

History of Culture, Literature, and Art

LCAD’s Liberal Arts courses will make you better informed about the history of culture, literature, and art.

Through a variety of interesting subjects and readings, you will develop as a creative problem solver and broaden your worldview. You will grow to understand the metrics of happiness and success while opening new pathways for original thought. You will gain a better understanding of the human experience, increase your capacity for empathy, and better develop your own voice. Keeping the artist in mind, our courses will also help you to understand your place within the artistic continuum and to articulate your unique aesthetic point of view. Your connections between creative work and the world beyond the classroom will be enhanced.

Liberal Arts Instructors

All LCAD Liberal Arts instructors are experienced educators, many of whom are world-class scholars, poets, authors, and working artists in their own fields.

As such, they bring unique assets to the classroom, including guests who are Academy Award®-winning storytellers and songwriters, and prize-winning authors and publishers. From these great minds, you will learn the foundations of storytelling techniques, the histories of civilizations, the history of all art making, and the specialized history of your chosen major. And to further elevate your learning experience, you may choose to minor in Art History or Creative Writing.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate proficiency in drawing, sketching, rendering, and painting effectively using various mediums.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of color theory and pictorial composition.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of digital imaging processes—both vector and raster.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the human anatomy and accurately depict the human form.

Department Leadership

Chair of Art History

Marcella Stockstill

Marcella Stockstill is Associate Professor and Co-Chair, Liberal Arts + Art History. Her research and teaching explore the interconnected histories of the visual arts and sciences from the 15 th to 17 th centuries. After completing her undergraduate studies at UC Irvine, Marcella earned her MA in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a thesis tracing 15 th -century exchanges in optics, color production, and alchemy between Netherlandish and Italian artists.

A fulltime lectureship in Art History at Chapman University inspired Marcella to pursue her doctorate at Claremont Graduate University, where she earned her PhD in History and Early Modern Studies. Her work restores a new class of natural philosophers to the historical record—firemasters who practiced alchemy and handbook illustration—reestablishing their place at the intersections of art and science.

Marcella’s research is supported by The Newberry Library in Chicago, The California Rare Book School at UCLA, and the Center for European Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. A $10,000 Transdisciplinary Dissertation Award in 2017, in addition to the Friedman Award, and the Ida Lloyd Crotty Endowed Scholarship at CGU proved essential to her research. Her publications include the Bodman Collection of Italian Renaissance Manuscripts (Libraries, Claremont Colleges), and book reviews for Routledge and Laurence King Publishers in the UK.

Currently, Marcella is engaged in reverse-engineering a 17 th -century pyrotechnic dragon from the illustrated handbook central to her dissertation. Most important, she is honored to teach at LCAD, whose students serve as a constant source of pride with their uncommon talent, insight, energy, humor, and inspiring turn-of-mind for processes of the natural world.

Norman Photo

Chair of Liberal Arts

Norman Leonard

Norman Leonard is an educator and writer with a diverse academic background, holding a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing Option from California State University, Long Beach, an M.A. in English from the same institution, and an MFA in Film: Screenwriting from Chapman University. When not teaching, Norman is a prolific writer, having published children's picture books and personal essays, and having scripted feature documentaries narrated by Meryl Streep and JK Simmons. Additionally, he has written myriad short films showcased at festivals worldwide. Norman's teaching philosophy emphasizes storytelling's power as a communication tool, fostering creativity and critical thinking among his students.

Admissions Information

Application Dates

  • LCAD has a rolling admissions policy and will accept applications until we’ve filled all spots for an incoming class. Applications will still be considered after the following priority dates:

    Fall: December 1st

    Spring: December 1st"

  • How to Apply