Spring 2018 Curriculum

Spring 2018 Curriculum

Visionary Studio Themes:

Hurricanes, Fires and Floods, Oh My!: What is the role of art in the face of global climate change.
Climate change is one of the defining issues of the 21st century. Many scientists agree that rising global temperatures and sea levels are the reasons why we are experiencing more destructive weather than ever before. Deforestation, mass extinctions of species, water scarcity, dramatic changes in food production and agriculture reflect our changing global ecosystems and the impact of human activity on our planet. Many contemporary artists are becoming climate activists: using art as a way to create awareness of the realities and impact of climate change, as well as using visionary strategies to rethink what we take for granted about the environment and imagining alternatives. In this class, students will build their own knowledge about climate change and create work in a variety of media connecting ideas about planetary health with local and global efforts to raise awareness and make change.

Manufacturing Addiction: How can art move the conversation about drug addiction from personal problem to the systems that support it?
Many people take medication daily -- to stay healthy (vitamins) or prescribed medications to relieve physical pain due to illness or operations. Across the United States, pain-killers, also known as opiods are increasingly being prescribed by doctors contributing to widespread addiction and deaths. Led by the pharmaceutical industry, the infrastructure that supports this system of legalized addiction has a long history and a complex set of current powerbrokers. We have long considered drug addiction the fault or problem of the victim alone. How have artists helped to raise awareness of the larger structures and systems that influence drug dependency and also imagine alternative forms of support and healing? In this class students will explore the connections between addiction and the pharmaceutical industry, create artwork in different media in response to this crisis, and imagine the possibilities for sharing their knowledge with others.

White out!: What do our public monuments tell us about our past and our present?
Public statues and monuments serve as reminders of our past, paying tribute to people and events that have shaped our history. But what if these histories do not represent all voices and perspectives, or contradict the values and beliefs of citizens today? We are often told that history is told by the victors, and monuments reinforce these stories in public, providing a constant reminder of who is considered important in our society as they stand in our public parks, in public buildings and government offices. Many monuments are now understood as controversial because they represent racist, sexist “patriarchal”  histories and the dominance of White power over other narratives and points of view. The history of slavery, the genocide of Indigenous people, and colonization are not visible, nor are the many contributions of African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx visible. Contemporary artists have challenged how we understand monuments and the stories they tell, opening up conversations about who and what should be recognized in our public spaces.In this class students will explore how monuments tell stories about racial and patriarchal hierarchy in our society, investigate the function of monuments as public art today, and design alternative monuments and forums of public storytelling about our past, our present, and possibly our future.