Art and the Natural World

Studio Art at Maine Coast Semester

Students of all levels have the opportunity to learn habits of creative expression while mastering fundamental skills and techniques. As a result, while exploring their sense of self and sense of place, they gain an increased sense of confidence in expressing ideas visually and develop a deeper awareness of how artists work.

Art and the Natural World (H)

Elective, Prerequisites: None

Art projects are inspired by the natural world and students’ connections to their environment. This may take the shape of an immersive experience suitable to the season, for example—Fall Semester students may harvest potatoes from the farm for printing while Spring Semester students may collaborate with the farm on natural dye techniques before embarking on a textile project. 

Artists in this course explore a variety of media such as ceramic sculpture, printmaking, mixed-media, and sustainable art and installation, as well as creative exercises and artist studies in their sketchbook. In addition to viewing artists’ work that relates to each project, local artists are invited to visit, show their work, and answer questions.

This course is inclusive of all, whether a beginner or quite advanced artist. Each student comes with a different set of skills, knowledge, and experiences in art and in life; no matter where they are, they have much to offer others in this class. While beginners develop basic skills, those with more experience are offered added challenges.

This course emphasizes the creative process, in which students learn to take risks, problem solve, explore new media in a collaborative environment, and practice elements from the eight “studio habits of mind”—develop craft, engage and persist, envision, express, observe, reflect, stretch and explore, and understand the art world (Harvard University’s Project Zero). Students are expected to complete weekly homework assignments and participate in class discussions, critiques, and presentations. When projects are finished, a written artist statement, critique, and/or presentation provide reflection and closure. Students are assessed on the quality of their art-making process and their finished artwork as it communicates their ideas, as well as effort and participation in class and with visiting artists.

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