Bridgewater College first offered art courses in 1886. The College had an Art Department that operated as an independent program by the early 20th century. Art study was offered irregularly however, due to variable student interest. Study was offered in a variety of artistic mediums, and the program of study was a three year course. Emma M. Cashman and Joseph M. Kagey were the first graduates of the Art Department, in 1913.
The Bridgewater College Art Department greatly expanded in 1969 when it moved from East Hall, where it was located since 1956, to the bottom level of Rebecca Hall. This space was made available due to the movement of dining services out of Rebecca Hall and into the new Kline Campus Center. The new Art Department space in Rebecca Hall included a classroom, an office, three studios and an outside gallery space. There was also new gallery space in the Kline Campus Center. Art was first approved as a modern major in the spring of 1970.