Welcome to SOS – Theory and Practice in the Visual Arts – Spring 2014

Welcome to Student-Originated Studies: Theory and Practice in the Visual Arts. This site will provide you with information on how to apply for admission to this program.

Program Description:

This program is for intermediate to advanced students who are ready for intensive full-time work in theory and practice in the visual arts. Students will design their own projects, complete visual research and write papers appropriate to their topics, share their research through presentations, work intensively in the studio together, produce a significant thematic body of work, and participate in demanding weekly critiques. The program will provide opportunities for independent work while providing a learning community of students with similar interests. Beyond art making and visual research, this program will also provide opportunities for professional development for students who are thinking of graduate school, professional work in the visual arts, visual arts internships, or arts education at any level.

Class meets Tuesdays – Noon-4pm (critique), Wednesdays – 11-1:00pm (artists talks), and Thursdays Noon-4pm (except for 2 field trips which will require us to depart earlier and possibly return later).

This program is based on a student originated project in art (or art history). This is for intermediate/advanced level students who are capable of working independently on a project and who also have the maturity and experience necessary to contribute to (and benefit from) an artistic community. Half of the credits in this 16 credit program stem from your project and the other half of the credits are earned through research related to your project and program activities such as seminars, field trips, and research presentations.

Readings for seminars are selected by the students in the program. We want to encourage students to take responsibility for what goes on in their seminar groups—not only the content that is discussed, but also the process of the discussion and the depth of the analysis.  For this reason, we are going to distribute the responsibility among us by having three or so students facilitate seminar once a week.

Seminar Facilitation:

The students who choose to facilitate a given seminar are responsible for setting an agenda for the discussion and structuring the conversation to address that agenda.  They need to read the text(s) thoroughly and meet before the seminar to (1) discuss key questions that may arise during seminar discussion and (2) decide what kind of exercises would stimulate a fruitful discussion of those questions.  Facilitators are not responsible for coming up with all the questions themselves or for all of the content of the agenda; each student is equally responsible to do that, by bringing comments and interpretive questions.

Academic projects about art are also possible. Thus, students who want to do research and writing on art history, art administration, museum studies, or have an internship possibility in an art-related field may substitute this type of work for the studio project component.

In order to Apply:

Your application consists of two components: a Portfolio and Selection Questions. Your acceptance into the program is based upon your Portfolio and your answers to the Selection Questions. Students will be notified by email If accepted into the program, and sent a Logistical Questionnaire to fill out and send back to faculty before the start of the program.


A CD, Flash Drive or DVD with work samples is preferred. You may submit up to 8 images of your work. Make sure to include at least one image of work relevant to the project you propose. For example, if you are doing a painting project, don’t submit all 8 images of sculptures. If you cannot submit a digital portfolio, you may arrange to briefly drop off physical samples of your work for faculty to review at a set time.

CD or DVD work samples can be delivered to Evan Blackwell mailbox in Lab II second floor- in the program secretaries’ area.