“What Do Artists Need?”


The curriculum for developing studio artists had been established before I arrived at the college. It was agreed that drawing was basic, whatever major the student chose. Similarly, two dimensional and three dimensional design were central. After those basics, students could branch out into sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking, graphic design or illustration. But it was less clear what academic background should be part of their bachelor of fine arts degree. This was the intent of the curriculum grant Bob and I were utilizing.

We learned that no art college had a particularly unique academic program which took into account that all the students were being prepared to be professional artists or teachers. Most agreed that art history was essential, but other than that there was not much imaginative curriculum. Our consultant, after realizing that we had an unusually well read studio faculty, suggested we design a new course which would be co-taught by studio and liberal arts faculty members. It would tie artistic movements to historical and philosophical movements, allowing students to begin to sense the  cultural context for their work.

We called it Art and Ideas and began teaching it the following year to all first year students.

Tomorrow I will recount Bob’s driving prowess.

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