Art and Society CourseThe interdisciplinary Art & Society Course is central to the mission of the Siena Art Institute and is required for all students.
The course allows students to develop substantive projects to further their portfolio development, and to have numerous opportunities to interact with a diverse array of artists, to deepen their understanding of contemporary art practices, and the various roles that artists can play in a broader social context.
The course is divided into three project units: the Introductory Project Unit, the Mid-Term Project Unit, and the Final Project Unit. Through the progression of these projects, students are guided through the production of a strong personal body of work, fostering their ongoing portfolio development.
Students’ work on their individual artistic projects is augmented by an exploration of the city of Siena, as a complex historical and social setting to which students are asked to respond artistically. A variety of activities, including collaborative projects, research, visits to galleries, museums, and other locations in the local area, presentations from guest artists and creative professionals, and discussions of assigned contribute inspiration and context for students’ projects.
There is also an organized calendar of group critiques and individual advising sessions, to ensure that students are receiving constructive feedback from a variety of perspectives about their developing artistic projects. In this intimate and rich setting, the feedback opportunity for the students is exceptional.
Formal group critiques are held at mid-term and at the end of the semester, during which all students as well as many guest artists and critics will be present to offer constructive criticism to students regarding their work.
The course also includes discussion of career development, offering students guidance as they embark on their careers as emerging artists.
As part of the Art and Society course, students also will have opportunities to interact with our visiting artists. Every Tuesday evening at 6 pm there is a presentation as part of our series “stARTers: assaggi d’arte”. Presentations are led by our Resident Artists as well as other guest artists, critics, musicians, writers, etc. Students are required to attend the Resident Artists’ presentations, and are encouraged to attend the other presentations as well. Students will team up in pairs to select one of the presenters that they will interview before the start of the presentation. Students also will have opportunities to receive critical feedback from visiting artists, both in individual advising meetings and during group critiques.
Every student is assigned an individual studio space. The school is open Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 8 pm.
The semester culminates in a one-week end-of-semester exhibition at the Siena Art Institute featuring students work in a formal exhibition and open studio. The event is free and open to the public.
Student Learning Objectives:
-To explore working from a variety of artistic perspectives and techniques, to strengthen students’ ability to work cross-disciplinarily and to determine the most effective artistic platforms for their planned projects, working towards the overarching goal of student’s portfolio development.
-To work collaboratively and independently on thoughtful, experimental art projects in and around the Siena area with diverse group of energetic, skilled, and inspired artists and writers with a demonstrated interest in artistic exploration and rigorous intellectual inquiry.
-To create within the class a dynamic environment which fosters artistic production, intense critical dialogue, intercultural communication, thoughtful reflection, and growth.
-To engage with the Sienese community in multiple ways: through observation, dialogue, outreach, and collaboration.
The goal of the class is to support students’ ongoing artistic development through a holistic exploration of the intersection of art and civic life, and the roles art can play in a society. This course encourages students to think seriously about their roles as artists, and to break out of the potential "comfort zone" of their existing studio practices.
Topics covered in the course include:
- Collaborative Practices
- Responding to Location
- The Diversity of Audiences
- Art as Receptacle of Cultural History
- Art as Social Criticism / Social Reflection / Social Metaphor
- Art as Public Communication
- Art as Entertainment, Propaganda, Kitsch,
- Art as Community Galvanizer, Sparking new conversations
Students are expected to have a strong background in creative practices including visual art and/or creative writing demonstrated by their application portfolio and transcript listing previous university art courses.
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