2013-14 Catalog

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Expressive Arts

Expressive Arts (EA) programs engage students in media arts, performing arts, visual arts and environmental arts practices by incorporating theoretical, critical and art historical learning with opportunities for hands-on work in a wide range of art forms. The Expressive Arts faculty sees the creation of imaginative and artistic work to be a central element of a broad, liberal arts education. Our curriculum accommodates a range of students in a variety of full and part time programs, courses and individual contract opportunities. Those who want to focus their studies in the arts work side by side with those interested in using arts practices to give voice to perspectives they have developed in the study of other disciplines.

At Evergreen the study of the arts is a thoroughly interdisciplinary endeavor; students are challenged to forge connections among various art forms, to integrate theory and practice, to create experimental work that challenges convention and audience expectation, to explore a variety of traditional modes, and to become attuned to the social, cultural, and historical contexts of the work they study and make. We see the goal of undergraduate arts education as twofold: students should be encouraged to develop their own creative approach and cultivate unique patterns of interest, and they should also learn to understand themselves as contributors to the social and cultural conversations that precede them and will outlast them. Our students develop strong collaboration skills, as well as aesthetic literacy and cultural competencies that equip them well for their work beyond the college.

Programs that integrate art practice might be organized around concepts, geographical areas, scientific inquiry, artistic and cultural movements, environmental concerns or historical moments; program content is based on the scholarly and creative work of the faculty, keeping the curriculum vital and relevant. Most programs offer ample opportunities for skill development in the context of these thematic investigations, rather than through narrowly focused and isolated sequential skill training. As art doesn’t exist in a vacuum, we encourage arts concentrators to draw inspiration from study outside the arts, and we require broadly interdisciplinary academic work for admission to some arts programs. Students who take programs combining arts with other disciplines build stronger foundations for their creative practices.

As a culmination of their studies, students may apply to do a Senior Thesis project. This competitive program is designed to celebrate the interdisciplinary study of art and to facilitate students’ advanced work in one or more art forms over the course of one, two, or three quarters. Participating students work with a thesis committee chaired by faculty and made up of faculty and/or staff. Each spring, juniors may submit proposals for Senior Thesis projects to be pursued the following year. Faculty review applications and selected students are given the opportunity to pursue advanced work at the Senior Thesis level.

Evergreen graduates who have studied the arts go on to pursue MFA degrees, start non-profits or work with community arts organizations, galleries or museums, enter the commercial sector to found or work for design and publicity firms, or find positions in theater, television, film or other production companies. Many successfully sustain their own creative practices. These graduates frequently discover that the collaboration, communication, management and creative problem solving skills they have cultivated in expressive arts programs also help them excel in fields outside the arts.

The Expressive Arts Planning Unit is organized into three sub-areas:

The Visual and Environmental Arts faculty and staff includes artists, craftspeople and designers working in a variety of traditional and emerging media including drawing, painting, sculpture, fine metals, printmaking, photography, digital media, environmental arts, sustainable design, woodworking, metal working, mixed media, installation, time-based arts, and art history. Students can regularly find programs that build strong skills and understanding in these media in interdisciplinary contexts. We emphasize drawing and visual thinking as fundamental skills, along with visual literacy and clear and rigorous writing. We encourage you to strive not just for self-expression, but also for clear mastery of your means, and effective engagement in your community.

Emphasizing non-traditional, experimental, and documentary modes, Media Arts offers students opportunities to learn the practice, history, and theory of film, video, animation, installation, sound design, and other digital arts as forms that widen the possibilities for audiovisual expression and connect media production to other arts. Programs prioritize collaboration as well as a critical engagement with media in its various social, cultural, and political contexts. We explore the social implications of image-making, and especially the ways in which self and other, identity, community and world are inscribed in the images we make and view. We encourage our students to take responsibility for their own work, collaborate with one another, and develop their own critical perspectives on the theory and practice of media.

The Performing Arts sub-area is staffed by faculty members who explore live performance disciplines including dance, theatre, and music. To perform means to find your voice, control your body, hone your ear. Our approaches to performance are varied, but we all emphasize fundamental skills, historical depth, and critical understanding. In-depth studies of ethnic traditions and geographic areas are a feature of many of our programs. We point out the connections between the present and the past, the body and the mind, ancient traditions and eternal themes. Be prepared to do a good deal of worthwhile, meaningful academic work as you develop socially engaged, culturally informed performance skills.