Introduction to Art Making

How do artists make art? How do we evaluate it? In this course, students of all levels get to experience firsthand the particular challenges and rewards of art making through practical engagement with five fields – Creative Writing, Visual Art, Theater, Dance, and Music – under the guidance of professionals. Two-week units introduce each field’s history and critical context, and include a local fieldtrip. In class, we will focus on articulating and applying the basic principles of aesthetics, with the ultimate goal of designing, collaborating on, and critiquing original projects across disciplines and media.

Sample reading list:

Bayles and Orland, Art and Fear
Siri Hustvedt, Notes on Seeing
James Baldwin, The Creative Process
Eleanor Fuchs, EF’s Visit to a Small Planet: Some Questions to Ask a Play
John Stuart Mill, Essays on Poetry
Beethoven, Heiligenstadt Testament

Reading/Writing assignments:
Weekly reading of around 50 pages per week. Weekly journal writing, both self-generated and with prompts from instructors. Hands-on project for each unit (five total). Final group project.

Before you enroll in this course, make sure you can attend each of these required on-campus field trips, for which all tickets and materials will be provided:

  • Wednesday, February 8, after 6 p.m. Discussion (required) with novelist Paul Beatty following his 4:30 p.m. public reading (recommended).
  • Tuesday, February 28, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Attendance at Twyla Tharp Company dance performance
  • Tuesday, March 14 (Times TBA) Private viewing at Princeton Art Museum of prints and drawings.
  • Wednesday, March 15, 8:00-10:30 p.m. Attendance at performance by Anna Deveare Smith.
  • Thursday, April 13, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Attendance at concert by Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn.
  • Saturday, April 29, 8-10:30 p.m. Attendance at Edwin Rosales’ new play and talk-back with author.