Studio Projects in Interdisciplinary Art: Material Gestures in a Shared Space

Fall 2019
Winter 2020
Spring 2020
Class Size: 46
75% Reserved for Freshmen
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Evan Blackwell
ceramic art, sculpture, visual studies
Shaw Osha (Flores)
visual arts, painting, drawing

This is an entry-level visual arts program emphasizing foundations of design and materials in 2D and 3D studio practices.  We will delve intensively into the development of studio skills in design, ceramics, sculpture, mixed media, life drawing and painting while exploring how these material gestures express content. In line with much contemporary art that uses multiple materials and approaches and incorporates studio practice with theory; the program will include art history; visual/cultural studies, including literature, aesthetics; and writing. As a working group, students will engage in an art practice that explores what it means to be in conversation with art history and the sociopolitical world, drawing encouragement and influence from each other as a community of artists.

The program is designed to support students interested in the visual arts, as well as those who are curious about visual literacy and want to experience using materials as an approach to inquiry and expression. No prior art experience is necessary, but enthusiasm, curiosity, and a strong work ethic are required. Students should be prepared to dedicate at least 40 hours per week to studio work and rigorous reading and writing on topics related to the concepts of 20th- and 21st-century art history and critical theory.  Central to this program is an understanding of the implications of image and object making in an image-abundant culture of digital and social media; making informed decisions about creative practice that is socially and materially sustainable; and how the politics of representation, identity, and community are inscribed in the images we make and view.

Fall quarter will provide students with foundational studio experience in design with drawing workshops and mixed media experimentation. In winter, students will work more specifically with the mediums of ceramics and painting. There will be visits to regional museums and we will attend the Art Lecture Series, which brings in artists from around the country to talk about the creative process. In the spring, students will continue to develop 2D and 3D studio practices and have the opportunity to apply their learning to individual projects, utilizing knowledge and skills gained over fall and winter. There will also be an opportunity to go to New York City for two weeks to visit artists' studios, attend talks, and draw from observation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students who do not to go to NY will have access to our dedicated studio and program structures that will continue on campus.

By the end of this program, students will understand how one engages with an art community to share support and inspiration, contemporary practices with materials, and how the artist’s work connects to critical issues. Students will begin to imagine how to situate their own projects in terms of the world around them. Students who fully engage in this program can expect to be prepared for intermediate studies in interdisciplinary visual arts.

Greener Foundations:  This program will incorporate Greener Foundations, a holistic course designed for first-time, first-year students. Faculty and staff collaborate to bring study skills, academic planning, health and wellness education, advising, and more into the classroom. More information at Greener Foundations

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

the arts and humanities .


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.
Special expenses:

Approximately $2,000 in spring for an optional two-week study of contemporary art in New York City, including travel, lodging, meals, and individual project expenses. Students will be responsible for making arrangements for their own travel, lodging, meals, and individual project expenses. The program will be structured as it is on campus with 16 hours of class time, which includes seminar, lectures, field trips and project work. Students will have the opportunity to experience works of art from throughout history and from all over the world in museums, galleries and in artists’ studios. They will also be able to situate their own line of inquiry within the context of what is being made and shown in a major contemporary art center.


$190 in fall for an overnight field trip to Portland, museum entrance fees, and studio supplies; $140 in winter for museum entrance fees and studio supplies; and $75 in spring for studio supplies. Also in spring, there is $225 required for students going to NYC. It will be used to cover museum passes, studio visit artist fees and travel to Dia Beacon. Students will take projects and unused supplies with them at the end of the program.

Class Standing: Freshman–Sophomore
Class Size: 46
75% Reserved for Freshmen

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, September 30, 2019 - 12:00 pm
SEM 2 A1107 - Workshop

Advertised schedule:

First spring class meeting : TBD

Located in: Olympia