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Courses

Department of Visual Arts Courses

Course descriptions listed on this page for the Department of Visual Arts are from the 2019-2020 College Catalog. For more information on the courses offered during the fall and spring semesters, please log in to the course schedule through STAR.

Visual Arts History

VAHI 100 —  Introduction To Visual Arts 

Course count: 1 

Fundamental, introductory course in art history and visual culture. Emphasis is on the acquisition of basic visual skills and an understanding of the major periods in the history of art. Exposure to works of art through the collections of The Worcester Art Museum is an integral part of the course.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

VAHI 111 —  History of Global Arch I 

Course count: 1 

This course offers a survey of the history of architecture from pre-history to post-modernism. It is introductory and examines the most important structures, monuments, and buildings of western civilization. Although focus is on architecturally great examples, vernacular building will also be included when appropriate. This is a beginning course in architectural history and therefore stresses the development of basic skills.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall

VAHI 112 —  History of Global Arch II 

Course count: 1 

This course is the second half of a year-long introduction to the fundamental elements of architecture within a global and historical framework. Lectures and discussions are organized around different monuments from the Ming Dynasty and early modern Europe to the present, and they attempt to balance regional and chronological approaches to the study of architecture and the built environment.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Spring

VAHI 136 —  Narrative In Art & Film 

Course count: 1 

An introduction to the visual traditions of film making from its origins to today. Study of a wide range of types including documentaries, comedies, drama, and even science fiction gives student ample choices for their own topics.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Spring

VAHI 137 —  Destruction and Renewal 

Course count: 1 

Years after the collapse of the World Trade Center, we are profoundly aware of the powerful forces of destruction in our society. Yet these are also countered by stories of survival, preservation, and renewal. This course investigates how cities and landscapes absorb and accommodate radical change over time, with Rome as a fundamental point of reference. The Eternal City has earned its name by being continuously inhabited throughout its millennial history, even as its archeological sites continue to be destroyed, transformed, and reused. In the second half of the course, we will expand our investigation outward to consider how other people around the globefrom the United States to Afghanistancontinue to grapple with these complex problems in the present.

GPA units: 1

VAHI 150 —  Museum Studies 

Course count: 1 

What is the role of the museum in today's hi-tech and multicultural society? How has that role changed since the rise of the museum among the educated elite in the early modern period? This course addresses such central questions in the history, mission, and structure of museums. We also explore the ways in which visual display conveys knowledge and builds broader arguments about cultures and society. We engage with the ethics embedded in acquiring and displaying irreplaceable and ritual objects from other cultures. In addition, this course also treats practical issues like funding, organization, and public outreach in museums. Students participate in field trips to different types of museums and learn about careers as directors, curators, collections managers, and educators in museums and historic houses.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Annually

VAHI 201 —  Introduction to Islamic Art 

Course count: 1 

An introductory course exploring the art and architecture dating from the inception of Islam in seventh- century Arabia through the 16th and 17th centuries in Safavid Iran, Mughal India, and the territories ruled by the Ottoman Turks. The religious, and social, cultural, and political significance of Islamic art is analyzed.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts, Cross-Cultural Studies

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 202 —  Art of Africa and the Americas 

Course count: 1 

An introductory course exploring the art of Africa and the Americas. Art is considered within its cultural context ( e.g., Benin, Yoruba, Maya, Aztec, Hopi) and within the larger contexts of imperialism, western and non-western ideologies, and practices of collection and exhibition. Deeper questions about the nature and function of art across cultures provide the focus for discussion.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts, Cross-Cultural Studies

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 204 —  Arts of Religion 

Course count: 1 

Deals with art from the 4th century and the era of Constantine to the age of the great cathedrals in the 13th century. Architecture, manuscript illumination, stained glass, and sculpture are included. Receives both Arts and Religion Distribution requirements.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts, Studies in Religion

Typically Offered: Annually

VAHI 205 —  Global Commerce in 15th Century Italy 

Course count: 1 

Early modern Italy was a commercial hub for the western world, with trade networks radiating across the Mediterranean into Europe, Africa, and Asia. We will consider how conditions in this flourishing economic crossroads favored the development of the unprecedented artistic culture of the early Renaissance. (Formerly Early Renaissance Art.)

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 206 —  Art & Antiquity in 16C Italy 

Course count: 1 

From "the rediscovery of classical antiquity" in Rome and the outpouring of artistic energy known as the High Renaissance, we will move outward to investigate the role of art and architecture in shaping the political and cultural realignments that defined this critical turning point in European history.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 207 —  Art, Science and Power 17C 

Course count: 1 

This course explores the explosive artistic creativity of 17th-century Europe as a process shaped by complex political and economic dynamics as well as by scientific discoveries. We will consider how the emergence of Baroque art was tied to the incipient scientific revolution, as well as the constant need to reinforce rulership, status, and authority.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 209 —  Art in the Modern World, 1780 to 1940 

Course count: 1 

Traces major European art movements from the late 18th to the mid 20th centuries (including Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, and others) with a focus on the development of Modernism.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall

VAHI 210 —  Contemporary Art, 1940 to the Present 

Course count: 1 

Movements discussed include Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, performance and installation art, time-based and digital art, activist art, public art, and current art.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

VAHI 214 —  17C Dutch Art & Society 

Course count: 1 

The course studies the art the northern Netherlands at a time when maritime trade with North America and the Middle and Far East made it a global cultural center. Painting and printmaking receive particular focus.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 220 —  The Arts in America 

Course count: 1 

A study of painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis on such major themes and styles as portraiture, genre painting, American impressionism, and modernism, including Native American and African American traditions and Asian influences. Art works will be studied in their cultural, social and political contexts. Course requirements include museum visits.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 240 —  Modern Architecture 

Course count: 1 

This lecture course explores American and European architecture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, interweaving major architectural movements with regional dialogues about political, socio-economic, and technological change. Strong emphasis on critical reading, class discussion, and preparation of research projects.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Annually

VAHI 250 —  Making the Modern City 

Course count: 1 

This lecture course probes the catalysts and implements of urban change around the globe since the Industrial Revolution. Using case studies of major cities, the course will explore how local political, socio-economic, and technical shifts wrought physical changes at the scale of the city. Our scope includes those figures who were agents of, and targets of, urban change; as well as the layers of water, sewer, electric, and transportation infrastructure that empower modern metropolises. We will also explore polarities of public vs. private and city vs. country. The course engages local examples, and when possible, includes a CBL component.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAHI 310 —  Kings & Caliphs: Art of Luxury 

Course count: 1 

The art and architecture of the medieval Mediterranean region bore vibrant witness to the conflict and cooperation between Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures. This course explores how icons, illuminated manuscripts, palaces, mosques, reliquaries, and other objects and sites can reveal the ways in which medieval individuals viewed "others" and themselves. Students with an interest in art history, religion, history, politics, architecture, languages or literature are welcome; we will look at the "long medieval" period from the late classical through the Renaissance. This is a seminar, and students are expected to engage in intensive individual research.

Enrollment limited to 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students only

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts, Cross-Cultural Studies

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAHI 400 —  Capstone Seminar 

Course count: 1 

Designed for majors, this course provides a critical examination of issues and methods in the literature of the history of art. Students also complete a capstone project often concentrating on the collection of the Worcester Art Museum or other important local sites.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall

VAHI 420 —  Tutorial 

Course count: 1 

Tutorials relate to all areas covered by Visual Arts History 200 courses. One unit each semester.

GPA units: 1

Visual Arts Studio

VAST 101 —  Fundamentals of Drawing 

Course count: 1 

An exciting introduction to studio art through an exploration of drawing media. Class critiques and discussions, insure the beginning student of a solid introduction to the creative process. Students work with charcoal, ink, graphite, watercolor pencils and other drawing materials. The course includes intensive sketchbook work as well as larger drawings based on observation. In addition, students acquire skill in figure drawing by working from the model. Taught by the studio staff and a prerequisite for many intermediate courses.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

VAST 102 —  3-Dimensional Fundamentals 

Course count: 1 

For students who are interested in an introduction to the physical world of sculptural art. Students explore the basic tools, processes and approaches to 3-Dimensional art through wood, clay wire, cloth and found objects.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

VAST 105 —  Digital Art Studio 1 

Course count: 1 

A hands-on introduction to digital art making processes on Macintosh computers. Generate and manipulate images and files within an artistic context. Think creatively, work digitally and examine the potential of digital art making as a new form of art. In addition to class projects and critiques in the media lab, students discuss contemporary artists who use the computer in their work.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 130 —  Photography 1 

Course count: 1 

For students with a serious interest in the creative use of black and white photography. Teaches exposure controls, camera operation, and rudimentary film developing and printing. Continuous work and advancement is achieved through creative photography assignments and criticism.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

VAST 140 —  Digital Filmmaking 

Course count: 1 

This course focuses on the techniques and theory of video production. Through a series of assignments, students will learn the basic technical elements of still and moving image productions. A variety of production formats will be discussed; focusing primarily on creative, lens-based documentary-style productions. Class time will be divided between equipment demonstrations, discussions, and critique. Topics include proper camera use, sound recording, editing, and presentation. Through critical readings and selected screenings, students will gain familiarity with the historical and contemporary trends in visual storytelling through moving images. Students will develop a set of production skills that will culminate in a collaborative group project.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAST 150 —  Drawing on Site 

Course count: 1 

A sketchbook is invaluable for experimentation with drawing, recording memories, practicing instinct and observation and connecting art with the everyday world and experience. This course will explore both studio work as well as Worcester and Holy Cross sites each week and use these sites to build upon fundamental drawing concepts in order to create unique and personal artist sketchbooks. Line, value, shape, form, perspective, measurement, composition and other elements are included using direct observation. A variety of methods and materials of drawing will be investigated and used to explore both contemporary and historical perspectives to make on-site drawings within the parameters of the sketchbook. The course will also investigate the various formats and concepts of both contemporary and historical sketchbooks.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAST 200 —  Painting 1 

Course count: 1 

An introduction to the principles, methods, and materials of oil painting in both historical and contemporary contexts. Emphasis placed on developing an understanding of form and space in pictorial compositions, strengthening perceptual abilities, and increasing knowledge of the use of color as it pertains to painting. Supplemental readings and field trips provide further connection and investigations of the history and process of Painting.

GPA units: 1

VAST 201 —  Painting 2 

Course count: 1 

A continuation and expansion of the skills acquired in Painting 1. Students are introduced to a wider range of experimental painting methods using oil based media, and will be working in large as well as small scale formats. The context of painting in contemporary art will be heavily emphasized in this course.

Prerequisite: VAST 200 or by permission

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 203 —  Fundamentals of Color 

Course count: 1 

Color is the most dynamic and complex of all the visual elements. In this course students explore color theory as it applies to a variety of media, including painting, collage, digital media and installation. Discussion of color and its relationships to composition through harmony and contrast is emphasized. In addition students explore applications of color that are symbolic as well as cultural. Students working in all media will benefit greatly from a solid understanding of color relationships, and will gain the skills to apply their knowledge to any chosen medium.

Prerequisite: VAST 105, VAST 199 (Digital Art Design) or VAST 199 (Studio Digital Art).

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 204 —  Digital Art Studio 2 

Course count: 1 

An explanatory approach to the next level of using digital processes as a fine art medium. Building upon the skills learned in Digital Art Studio 1, students will examine the impact of digital processes on art and artists, research the work of artists who use digital process to produce art, and create computer-based artworks in formats ranging from large format digital prints to web-based art and digital objects.

Prerequisite: VAST 105 or VAST 130.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 205 —  New Media 

Course count: 1 

New Media radically explores diverse and contemporary methods of digital production and output (including but not limited to computer graphics, computer animation, Internet art, and interactive technologies, on platforms ranging from computer monitors to projections, video game consoles to portable electronic devices), raising issues regarding the nature of the physical art object, the expanding role of emerging digital processes in artistic production, and the role new media art plays in the production and dissemination of contemporary artistic practice.

Prerequisite: VAST 105 or VAST 130 or VAST 140.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 206 —  Drawn to Nature 

Course count: 1 

GPA units: 1

VAST 207 —  Life Drawing 

Course count: 1 

Students work from the nude model each session. Emphasis is on a structural understanding of the figure and on expressive approach to drawing. Work in a range of media including charcoal, pencil and wash. In addition to class work, work on independent projects in drawing.

Prerequisite: VAST 101 or with permission of instructor.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 208 —  Cutting Edge: Beyond Collage 

Course count: 1 

This course begins with collaging on a 2-dimensional plane and moves into making sculptural assemblages. Collage is a method for interweaving complex shapes and images. Visual fragments from flat fibers and images are combined to create interlocking forms of both actual and perceived shapes. Assemblage is the process of joining found objects together into a sculptural object. The course will place an emphasis on how edges join in both a physical and illusory way. Students will learn to consider the most sophisticated way to join parts, whether it is gluing, wrapping, weaving, sewing, or using hardware etc. Assemblage and Collage refer not only to the technique of combining objects and or images in a new way but also to new attitudes and ideas about how the world is perceived and re-contextualized. As a primary medium of the 20th century, the processes of Assemblage and Collage reflect the modern age of technology and culture. The students will be introduced to the major artists using these techniques from the 18th century to the modern age. Issues of copyright will be discussed also.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Arts

VAST 210 —  Printmaking 1 

Course count: 1 

Printmaking is closely linked to drawing, but with a different range of marks, textures, and line quality. This course introduces the process of printmaking, including layering, improvisation and working with multiples. The class focuses on screen printing, intaglio printing, or making images on copper plates. Students learn to use the materials and techniques of printmaking to communicate their individual ideas in a contemporary context.This course can be taken in addition to Print Projects.

Prerequisite: One previous drawing course or with permission of Instructor.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 213 —  Book Projects 

Course count: 1 

Explores the tradition of handmade artists' books and more recent experimental book forms. How do images work together in a sequence? What kind of narrative can be created by blinding images and text into a book form? What are the possible physical forms for the book? In addition to making conventional and experimental books in the print studio, students make a digital book in the Millard Media Lab. Through readings and discussions, this course examines the emergence of the "artists' book" in the 1960's and the work of contemporary artists.

Prerequisite: One previous studio art course

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

VAST 220 —  Sculpture 1 

Course count: 1 

Sculpture 1 explores the elements of 3-Dimensional expression in projects of varied media. Students are exposed to sculptural issues via slide presentations on past and present works in sculpture. Class critiques allow students to refine both concepts and expression to create a personal synthesis.

Prerequisite: VAST 102

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 222 —  Intermediate Drawing 

Course count: 1 

This course continues to build basic drawing skills and fosters the development of an individual drawing style. The content of Drawing I includes drawing from models, drawing in color, and other drawing forms such as collage and sequential drawing. Students are encouraged to explore new content in their work. Course includes readings, sketchbook work, and a visit to an exhibition.This course was previously known as VAST 121 - Drawing 1.

Prerequisite: VAST 101

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 230 —  Photography 2 

Course count: 1 

This is an advanced course on the fundamentals of creative photography. Class time will be devoted to lab demonstrations as well as critical discussions of student work. Through regular lectures and discussion, students will become familiar with aesthetic movements and notable practitioners, with a focus on contemporary trends in the medium. An emphasis will be placed on the development of the students own ideas about photography as demonstrated through a multi-week project culminating in a final printed portfolio.Students will be expected to acquire an intermediate level of technical skill within a digital workflow by refining their image editing skills utilizing Adobe Creative Cloud applications to create inkjet prints. Additional topics will include darkroom processing and large format printing. Students are required to supply their own digital camera with manual controls (DSLR or equivalent), although specialty equipment (such as film-based cameras, tripods, and lighting equipment) will be available for student use.

Prerequisite: VAST 130

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 300 —  Studio Concentration Seminar 1 

Course count: 1 

Focuses on developing a "subject " or idea that can serve as the basis for a concise body of artwork reflecting the studio major's individual viewpoint and distinct aesthetic voice. In creating this body of work, students are challenged to take risks and experience both the discovery and failure that is the basis of the creative process. Each student has an individual space in Millard Art Center for intensive work. Students may work in any combination of media that serves their ideas. Critiques, trips, readings and discussion address the process of developing a body of work as well as issues of professionalism as an artist. Student work is evaluated at the end of fall semester for admission into the Studio Concentration Seminar II.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 301 —  Studio Concentration Seminar 2 

Course count: 1 

The second semester of the Studio Concentration Seminar focuses on completing a cohesive body of work for the Senior Exhibition in the Cantor Art Gallery. In addition to producing and selecting work for the exhibition, students develop their artists statements. Involvement in all aspects of mounting a professional exhibition including presentation of work, publicity, installation of the show and presentation of work to the College community.

Prerequisite: VAST 300. Enrollment limited to 4th year VAST Majors.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Annually

VAST 330 —  Tutorial 

Course count: 1 

Tutorials relate to all areas covered by Visual Arts Studio 200 courses.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

VAST 430 —  Tutorial 

Course count: 1 

Tutorials relate to all areas covered by Visual Arts Studio 200 courses.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring