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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Amy M Lambert
BIS 397
Bothell Campus

Topics in Environmental Studies

Examines topics in Environmental Studies. Includes social, political, historical, cultural, artistic, economic, or scientific explorations of environmental issues.

Class description

SPRING 2014 ART AND RESTORATION What do ecological restoration and public art have in common? Both disciplines are models for thinking about questions of function. The primary objective in this course is to investigate the concept of function as it relates to public art and ecological restoration. What are the goals and standards of public art and ecological restoration? How should we assess the effectiveness of public art and/or ecological restoration? Students will use visual art techniques and digital photography to investigate these questions. Concepts will be discussed from both a human and ecological perspective to better understand how the natural environment informs human identity and how humans have transformed the natural environment. Students will participate in a field-based art and restoration project that will culminate in the creation of a photo essay documenting the intersection of art and restoration. This course fulfills course requirements towards Environmental Studies major (distribution requirements for Society & Environment) as well as other areas of study including credits for American Studies (AMS), Culture, Literature and Arts (CLA), Media and Communication Studies (MCS), Visual Literary and Performing Arts (VLPA) and The Natural World (NW).

Student learning goals

Be able to recognize and articulate (verbally and in writing) historical and contemporary approaches to public art and ecological restoration and the intersection between different epistemologies

Be able to recognize and articulate the different approaches to public art that incorporate the natural environment (i.e., landscape-based art, environmental art, earthworks and eco-art) and distinguish between projects based in natural sciences and projects based in arts/humanities

Be able to recognize and articulate different approaches to ecological restoration, specifically those that that integrate social, political and ethical concerns into restoration projects

Be able to recognize and articulate the relationship between art-making processes and ecological restoration processes and participate in both fields of inquiry

Design and produce visual imagery using formal art concepts and participate in peer review and critique. Be able to confidently engage in class discussion and provide critical, thoughtful review of visual assignments.

Participate in collaborative hands-on, field-based art and restoration activities

General method of instruction

Course material will be presented through interactive lectures, discussions, readings and field based activities. Generally, we will read from an art text (Matilsky) and restoration text (Higgs) each week to develop questions that synthesize and bridge concepts of art and restoration. The art text focuses on historical and contemporary environmental artists. The restoration text focuses on ethical and philosophical ideas of restoration. Writing assignments (Question development) will be used to bridge ideas of art and restoration as well as provide a framework for group discussion. Weekly art projects will be assigned based on concepts presented in the readings. Art instruction will be provided in-class prior to art assignments and will focus on basic art strategies.

Recommended preparation

Students should have a strong interest in learning about contemporary art and restoration ecology. Students will be better prepared if they have taken a course in environmental science, plant identification, art techniques or art history. However, there are no prerequisites for the course, and students should not be discouraged from participating if they lack these courses.

Class assignments and grading

Writing assignments include the development of question sets that incorporate and synthesize concepts from both readings about art and restoration. Art assignments may include the creation of artworks made from modeling clay, mark-making tools and text.

Writing assignments will be evaluated on thoughtful construction of ideas, clear and logical paragraph development, proper usage of terminology and use of supporting material. Art assignments will be evaluated on your willingness to take risks in exploring ideas (conceptual and intellectual pursuit), development of ideas and progress of work (artistic process), appropriate use of tools (craftsmanship) and presentation (ambition and investment).


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 Amy M Lambert
Date: 03/01/2014