Travel courses offer exciting academic options for students
With the advent of our BFA Program the art faculty felt it vital to implement ways of offering students a wider range of experiences that would enhance both their creative and intellectual pursuits. This has been manifested in the form of travel components in special topics course offerings, and three such special topics courses have been implemented by Professor Cliff Tierney.
The inaugural special topics travel course was implemented in the spring of 2010 with the course "Paris As Classroom." This semester long course was created to immerse students in the history and current practice of art in Paris. The nine-day excursion to Paris was preceded by nine weeks of study and discussion in preparation for a trip that was focused on art and culture. While in Paris students not only visited the world-class museums but they also visited landmarks both on and off the beaten path. On return the students were required to present an exhibition of their experience. The next Paris as Classroom course will be offered in the spring semester of 2012 and plans are being made now that will offer students an opportunity to make artwork while experiencing the city.
The second opportunity for travel involves a multi-disciplinary course offered during the abbreviated May semester. This past May professors from Biology, Literature and Art led a group of students to the Pecos Region of West Texas to study the aspects of arid lands ecology. The art component of this course included two elements: observation and reflection. With the observational element students integrated the biological element in the form of annotated and observational drawing techniques. The reflective element was intertwined with the element of desert literature as students were encouraged to apply a more expressive aspect to the experience of camping, hiking and communing in this harsh but beautifully unique environment. This coming May professors from the three disciplines will lead students to the Olympic Peninsula to study the ecology of the coastal rainforest of the Pacific Northwest.
The third travel component comes in the form of an extended field trip to Chicago for students enrolled in the "Special Topics: Figure Drawing: From Bouguereau to Bacon." This studio course offers students the opportunity to study the human form and how it has been used in art over the last century and a half. The focus of the field trip to Chicago is twofold: 1. Students will actually draw master studies of some of the greatest paintings in history. There will be a constant discussion of how the use of the figured has changed in art from classic approaches to the implementation of highly expressive methods; 2. Students will spend a few days in a city that has a world-class art scene and will be led to interact with the city and observe life in a highly diverse and populated city.
In the fall of 2010 Professor Horton used the text "Seven Days in the Art world" by Sarah Thornton to develop a course that explored various manifestations of the art world including: The museum, the art school, the studio, the auction, art writing, biennales, and art fairs.
Each section was accompanied by a tour, guest lecture, studio visit, etc. at the local embodiment of this phenomenon. The semester culminated in a five day whirl-wind trip to NYC that included studio visits with artists in New York, a walking tour of arts in Brooklyn, several museum visits (including The MET, MoMA, Guggenheim, New Museum,etc.) gallery visits in the Chelsea art district, and a tour of the gradate program at the School of Visual Arts.