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Open Studios: A Tour and Journal Assignment

August 10, 2016


MFA / BFA OPEN STUDIOS – Thursday October 13, 2016

Open Studios Sketchbook Assignment:

Every semester we hold an Open Studios day where our Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts students show their work in studio spaces throughout Ayres Hall, Laxson Auditiorium, the BMU, and the Graduate Studio. Our studio art classes are canceled on this day in order to allow faculty and students to circulate and engage in meaningful dialogue. You are taking studio classes this semester and are therefore expected to make your way through the Open Studios as an observer and documentarian.

Beyond simply looking, I ask that you talk with 5 students who are showing their work at Open Studios. At least 2 of these should be graduate students (MFA Candidates whose work can be seen across the street in the new building) and the other 3 are BFA candidates (in Ayres Hall or other sites as listed on the schedule). See schedule below.

Ask each of the 5 students a few questions that you have prepared in advance. Just listen and discuss. Don’t take the ‘reporter’ pose: nose in the notepad feverishly writing. After your conversation, move to a place of contemplation where you can take a moment to make notes about their work, your responses to it, and their responses to your questions. Sketches will help you remember what you saw.

Thinking about your own work and experiences in the Department of Art may help you to phrase some questions or conversation starters. Most importantly: make this opportunity work for you. Formulate your questions or feel free to use/modify these prompts:

– What inspirations/sources/references does this artist look to for their imagery?

– Is their work purely personal? Political? Somewhere in between?

– How did they arrive at the skill set they have? Why do they use these particular materials to express their ideas?

-How have their classes at the university influenced their thinking?

-Do they consider their audience when making artwork? If so, who is their ideal audience?

– We’ve been having discussions in our Intro to Sculpture class about decoration in relation to things like surface treatment of a form. Is decoration a term that they think about (avoid? embrace?) and if so, how do they work with or against it?


This activity counts as one Cultural Event. Record this at the back of your sketchbook along with your Artists Research pages.


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