Fall 2011 Curriculum

Fall 2011 Curriculum


We all need water. It sustains human life. Water is deeply connected to cultural traditions for all communities.  Living in New York City we can buy a bottle of water on almost every corner or drink water straight from the tap without thinking about where it came from, how it got here and that it might be in short supply. Water sources are drying up and being contaminated by industrial chemicals, nuclear disasters, drilling for gas (hydo-fracking) and oil spills. With the loss of water, we also lose communities along with their traditions and culture. In this class we will explore water as a symbol of life and how the water crisis (radioactive water, toxic water, polluted water) is impacting the lives of millions of people. Students will create artworks that reflect their deeper understanding of the water crisis in our communities and world.


Today, a majority of people in the world live in urban communities that are constantly in motion In New York, we live and work in places where there are new structures being built, older ones being re-built, renovated, and transformed. Our urban landscape is a source of inspiration for artists, who observe the codes and icons in their daily life on the streets and incorporate them into their artwork. Each day there are new signs such as graffiti, advertisements, signage, empty spaces that are transformed into gardens or parks or other kinds of recreational areas that visually change the urban landscape.  In this class students will look at various examples of how artists have transformed our urban environments and how it connects to the community or neighborhood. What responsibility does the artist have to the community? How does the community become a part of the transformation? Who is the work for? Students will create drawings or small scale models, and create artworks that explore aspects of this landscape and/or create ways to transform the urban landscape.


Depending on how we use it, power can be positive or negative. We can be leaders or tyrants, and we can inspire through peace or violence. The fist, which is used in personal fights between people has also become a symbol of justice. Often called the revolutionary fist, it has been used by artists and musicians to call attention to inequalities in labor (work) practices, against racism and other oppressions. Artists through their work challenge authority and injustices in our society. We all have experienced versions of power in our lives that can make you feel bad and want to fight back through brute force or one can fight back in a constructive manner to change unfair situations by raising your fist. Have you felt inspired by someone that made you feel like you can take on the world? Have you been defeated by someone who makes you feel like you want to give up? Art is a powerful tool and you as an artist hold that power. In this class, students will create artworks on how power affects us. They will examine unfair situations they have experienced in their lives and respond to changing it through art.


Do you notice how no matter how much time passes and how things change, there are some things that seem to always remain?  Or, that some things are never the same? Time is part of our lives. Artists explore time in multiple ways, looking back or looking forward. How we experience time has changed with technology. Some arts are time based such as performance art, video art and music and other arts refer to time in terms of history. How do we experience time? How does the past inform our present and the future? This class will discuss and create projects relating to time & timelessness. Students will work with ideas such as literal time, symbolic time, timelessness of nature, reflections or frustrations with things that never change, ideas for the future, and perhaps their visual interpretations of what they can change, or hope to change with time. Can referring to our past, reflect our present or future? Or vice versa? This class will explore this and more in time!