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.
Visual Arts Courses
This studio class is about painting and practice. Painting has such a long and complicated history that is now transforming and including adjacent events, perspectives, and artists—that there is no real place to start. It has become professional and is an academic area of study. That said—anyone can use a paintbrush somehow and make a painting.
An introduction to the materials and methods of painting, addressing form and light, color and its interaction, composition, scale, texture and gesture. Students will experiment with subject matter including still life, landscape, architecture, self-portraiture and abstraction, while painting from a variety of sources: life, sketches, maquettes, collages, photographs and imagination. Students will progressively develop personal imagery that will inform an individual final project.
How can art become a form of activism? This course investigates how technological media shape culture and society, and how we can actively reshape these dynamics through art and design. We will engage in the practice of "speculative", and "tactical" design using various digital tools to envision different futures, reflecting on social, political, and ethical implications of various technologies. Traversing digital and physical realities, students will develop skills in the Adobe suite, 3d modeling, rendering, AR/VR. The final project will be a technology-based artwork that actively engages with critical social discourse and activism.
An introduction to the processes of photography through a series of problems directed toward lens projection, the handling of light-sensitive material, and camera operation. Students will receive a kit that will contain the equipment and materials for analog image making at home, beginning with cyanotype printing and culminating with large format film exposure and processing. These processes trace the origins of photography. Final projects will examine new potentials in photographic expression including images that hybridize analog and digital interfaces.
The practice of graphic design relies on the existence of networks for distributing multiple copies of identical things. Students in this course will consider the ways in which a graphic design object’s characteristics are affected by its ability to be copied and shared, and by the environment in which it is intended to circulate. Through hands-on design projects, readings, and discussions, students will delve into different material forms of distribution — the printed newspaper, social network software, the community radio station, the PDF. Given the online context this semester, assignments will address and employ electronic networks.
This studio course engages students in the decoding of and formal experimentation with the image as a two-dimensional surface. Through projects, readings, and discussions, students take a hands-on approach to making with an array of technologies (the camera, video camera, computer, solar printing, web publishing) and forms (billboard, symbol, screensaver, book) to address the most basic principles of design, such as visual metaphor, composition, sequence, hierarchy, and scale.
This studio production class will engage in a variety of timed-based composition, visualization, and storytelling techniques. Students will learn foundational methods of 2D animation, acquire a working knowledge of digital animation software and technology, and explore the connective space between sound, image, and motion possible in animated film. Screenings, discussions, and critiques will relate student work to the history and practice of animation and to other media, art, and design forms.
This class will be a home studio introduction to sculpture, with particular emphasis on the study of how form, space, and a wide variety of materials and processes influence the visual properties of sculpture and the making of meaning. A balance of indoor, outdoor, and/or transient assignments will lead to the development of an understanding of contemporary sculpture, as well as basic technical facility with found objects, common materials, natural earthworks, ergonomics, and three-dimensional design.
This online course focuses on the technical, cultural, geological, and everyday characteristics of raw clay and fired ceramic objects. Students develop an understanding of and vocabulary for the physical properties of clay in all its states. Students will learn about clay harvesting, processing, making, drying, firing, and the local histories of ceramic production.
This class experiments with 3D fabric construction, weaving, knitting, knotting and more as a means for making sculpture. In her essay, "The Materialists", curator Jenell Porter asks, "Why not consider fiber as painting and sculpture, drawing and sculpture, installation and painting, and most problematically, art and craft?" Through this 'both/and' condition, this course introduces a range of art in which textiles are used as the primary material while providing techniques and materials for developing textile-based sculpture.
In the real world, what relationships have the necessary friction to generate compelling films? Documentary Filmmaking I will introduce you to the craft, history and theory behind attempts to answer this question. Through remote production and editing assignments, as well as readings, screenings, and zoom discussions, you’ll take your first steps into the world of non-fiction filmmaking. You will analyze different documentary methods and approaches as aesthetic devices and as a means of social discourse.
Narrative Filmmaking 1 is a hands-on production class designed for students from all academic backgrounds to learn about the art of video production and develop their creative voices using cellphones! The course will cover technical aspects of making films, including shot language, sound recording, and editing, and will explore what it means to make images at this critical moment of time.
"Pathological Color" will examine photography's ongoing negotiation of color technologies. The class will model historic and recent photographic modalities, cyanotype, tricolor, autochrome, psychedelic processes, to examine color vision and photography as both a physiological phenomenon and as technology of image reproduction and cultural bias. The class will use basic Photoshop techniques for weekly assignments. Readings ranging from Aristotle, Goethe, Elaine Scarry, Michael Taussig and Maggie Nelson will guide discussions. This course will include independent work, weekly assignments with lectures, guests and visits to virtual exhibitions.
This course will introduce students to core screenwriting principles and techniques. Questions of thematic cohesiveness, plot construction, logical cause and effect, character behavior, dialogue, genre consistency and pace will be explored as students gain confidence in the form by completing a number of short screenplays.
This course offers an exploration of visual storytelling, combined with a grounding in the practical, communicative, collaborative and anti-racist skills necessary to create physical environments for live theater making, whether in person or virtually. Students are mentored as designers, directors or creators (often in teams) on realized projects for the theater program season. Individualized class plans allow students to explore supporting online productions, to imagine physical environments for un-realized productions, or to explore exciting contemporary visualization techniques, depending on their area of interest and skill level.
This advanced screenwriting workshop will introduce students to the fundamental elements of developing and writing a TV series in the current “golden age of television.” Students will watch television pilots, read pilot episodes, and engage in in-depth discussion about story, series engine, character, structure, tone and season arcs. Each student will formulate and pitch an original series idea, and complete the first draft of the pilot episode and season arcs by end of semester.
Record, index, propose, invent, and fantasize: drawing can point to a past event, create a primary experience in the present, and serve as a model for a possible or impossible future. This remote course will focus on drawing's relationship to time. Each student will be sent all the materials they need to work from home. Using pencil, charcoal, conté crayons, ink, and more, we will investigate multiple uses of drawing and their accompanying temporalities through synchronous and asynchronous explorations of a wide range of formal tactics that include mark-making, collage, value, color, space, scale, and gesture.
The structure of Senior Issues and Exhibition Methods is to create a conversation and vision for, and in regards to and around your Senior Thesis. The nature of the class is somewhat informal and conversational, with the majority of class time being for student studio presentations and visiting artists lectures. There are two projects; a proposition presentation and a “handmade” poster project which will be virtual this year.
This year, students will design, build, and critically analyze three common objects—a Cushion, a Prosthetic, and a Light Fixture—each of which will be informed by the differing structural properties of the same material: ash wood. Each assignment will be three weeks long, will be executed round-robin, and will be capable of being done from home. The round-robin structure will allow students to lead the way on some assignments, while learning from the work of their classmates on others. One larger goal of this class is to compare and contrast methods of evaluation in visual art, engineering, ergonomics, and social policy.
This course will introduce students to Screenwriting Adaptation techniques, focusing primarily on the challenges of adapting “true stories” pulled from various non-fiction sources. The class will address the ethics of adaptation, questions and techniques surrounding the need to fictionalize truth for dramatic purposes, as well as touching on the differences between fictional and nonfictional original materials.