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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Carolyn J. Bodle
BIS 209
Bothell Campus

Engaging Visual Arts

Foregrounds questions about visual arts: What are the purposes of the visual arts? What approaches might we use to understand them? How do they relate to the societies and cultures in which they are located? May focus on individual writers, movements, historical periods, genres or topics.

Class description

This production/seminar course will introduce students to contemporary art theory and practice. This course will encourage students to investigate the role of artists in today’s society by reflecting on themes of identity, culture, social and political engagement, and context as motivations for art making as well as engage students to consider the dialogue between artist, artwork, and audience. These explorations will be applied in a series of three projects (Material, Site and Story, Re-edit) and one research presentation (Contemporary Art Topics) that will be complimented by discussions, readings, and lectures in class. Projects will engage students to explore various techniques and media such as sculpture, performance, video, image, and installation through concept, development, and execution and will be anchored in the history, theory, and practice of contemporary art.

Student learning goals

Utilize contemporary art concepts as a means of exploration, research, and representation of views and ideas ideas

Articulate a basic understanding of contemporary art criticism

Complete three art projects and one research project, along with a reflective essay that accompanies each project

Work collaboratively and independently in conceptualizing and executing art projects

Show how art is always an interdisciplinary practice

General method of instruction

Projects (both individual and group), class discussions, readings, lectures, and presentations.

Recommended preparation

This is an introduction course without prerequisites other than an interest in contemporary art.

Beyond traditional elements of composition/form/use of media, this class looks at artistic engagement in today’s sociocultural discourse from unfamiliar and different perspectives to initiate new ideas and interpretations that form the basis for contemporary artistic practice. Contemporary art is the art of the present! Use your unique individual approach, skills, curiosity to make this class a platform for exploration and experimentation. Students from various academic backgrounds encouraged to enroll.

Class assignments and grading

Grading will be based on concept and execution of projects, class participation, reflection papers, personal investment in work, and demonstrated growth over the quarter. Completion of all projects is required for a passing grade as is regular active participation and the completion of all reading assignments.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Carolyn J. Bodle
Date: 01/25/2012