Introduction to Visual Art Syllabus

Southern Maine Community College
South Portland, Maine 04106

Fine Arts Department
Title: Intro to Visual Art
Catalog Number: ARTH- 105
Credit Hours: 3    Total Contact Hours: 3
Instructor: Julie Brown-Zinchuk 
Lecture (or Lab): Wednesday 3:00-5:45
Phone: E-Mail: jbrownzinchuk@smccme.edu

Course Syllabus

Course Description
The class serves as an introduction to the world of visual art. Through the use of a unique thematic approach we will explore topical threads that cross cultural and historical boundaries, leading from cave drawings to the present. Each class will feature a different inspirational theme – which will be explored through presentations, readings, writings, and studio projects in a variety of different media.     

Course Objectives
Recognize and articulate an understanding of the concepts of visual art in academic and studio settings.
Employ comprehension and vocabulary of visual art concepts to engage in critical discussions.
Develop skills and experience working in a variety of art media.
Produce a portfolio of studio art work and a collection of critical writing.
Present and display finished work in a professional manner.

Course Requirements
Complete studio projects for critique deadlines; submit all completed projects for final critique.
Complete required readings and demonstrate comprehension in class discussion.
Complete a weekly journal of writing about art, participate in discussion about writings.
Actively participate in studio work, discussions and critique.
Deliver a research presentation/project.

Semester Outline
Introduction to Visual Art is organized thematically. Each week we will explore a different topic that has served as an important component to visual art. In class, we will explore the weekly topic through two components: the research and discussion of art history and theory, and the creation of a studio project. Outside of class students are required to spend a minimum of 2 hours a week working on projects. Each individual will be required to take a field trip to Portland-area gallery, museum, or artist studios.

Criteria for evaluation include: completion of assignments; level of self-challenge, time and effort spent; quantity and quality of work produced; understanding of concepts covered; and growth and development of aesthetic sensibility. Grades will be assigned as follows:
A    The highest level of commitment, effort and enthusiasm, demonstrated by working independently and carrying through ambitious and challenging projects. All assignments are complete, often taking more than the expected three hours per week.
B    A high level of effort and enthusiasm. The student demonstrates a sincere level of commitment and a devotion to learning the skills of the class. All or most assignments are complete.
C    A sufficient level of achievement in quantity and quality of work. Multiple assignments are incomplete or rushed.
D    Deficiency in commitment and accomplishment. Many assignments are incomplete.
F    Extreme deficiency in commitment, understanding and accomplishment. Very few assignments are attempted.

Your grade will be calculated as follows:
Studio Projects         40%
Research Project    40%
 Participation         20%

Studio Projects Portfolio

Your Studio Projects Portfolio is defined as all of the studio art projects created in this class throughout the course of the semester. Each project will explore art-making in a different media. Ample class time, resources and access to facilities will be allotted for each project, but the student should plan to spend at least 1-2 additional hours per week working on studio projects, either at the Art Studio or at home. We will critique each studio project at the following class, and students are expected to rework projects based on class feedback. All studio projects will be presented at the end of class for the final review. 

Your participation grade is made up of three parts: Participation, Preparedness and Attendance.

Participation:     Playing an active role in class discussions, exercises and critiques is essential to success in this class. The majority of seminars will consist of in-class lectures and studio projects that occur under the guidance of the instructor and in tandem with your classmates. Studio classes, group critiques, field trips and lecture days are all equally essential toward meeting the learning objectives of the course.

Please practice civility when in class. Honor your classmates’ opinions by listening during discussions and offer your own critique respectfully.

    And turn off your cell phones! Seriously.

Preparedness:     It is your responsibility to refer to the syllabus to know what assignments and readings are due and what materials are to be brought to each class. It is your responsibility to obtain the reading and proper art materials for the class. It is expected that you will arrive to class with the completed projects required for each group critique. Tardiness, un-preparedness, and nonparticipation will lower your participation grade.

Attendance Policy*:  You are allowed two unexcused absences. After two absences your Participation grade will be automatically lowered by five points for each class missed. A student who misses five or more classes will be advised to drop the class. A student who misses three classes in a row will be automatically dropped from the class. Late arrivals and early departures may be considered as absences. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to complete the assignments. You are expected to complete all exercises from classes you missed.

Research Project
Your Research Presentation consists of two parts: 1) a short 5-7 minute presentation on a topic of your choice. Your presentation must consist of equal parts historical/factual information and your own thoughts and opinions on your topic. Presentations are required to have a visual component, preferably a PowerPoint presentation. 2) A studio project of your own design inspired by the artist. Details will be discussed in class.


You are required to provide all of your own art supplies.
supplies may also be purchased at these fine stores:

Artist & Craftsman Supply, 772-7272, 540 Deering Avenue in Portland, at Woodfords Corner.
Art Mart, 775-4244, 554 Congress Street in Portland, in Maine College of Art’s Porteous Building.
Michael’s and A.C. Moore, two large art and craft supply stores, are out by the mall.

End-of-Course Evaluation
In order to gain access to final course grades, students must complete evaluations for all courses. Students can now evaluate their SMCC courses online and anonymously by going to Academics on the SMCC homepage and choosing Course Evaluations. This feature is typically available the last two weeks of every class (in most cases, this will be the last two weeks of the semester).

ADA Syllabus Statement

Southern Maine Community College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and employer. For more information, please call 207-741-5798.

If you have a disabling condition and wish to request accommodations in order to have reasonable access to the programs and services offered by SMCC, you must register with the disability services coordinator, Mark Krogman, who can be reached at 741-5629.  There will be some documentation for your teachers that must be supplied before accommodations can be given.  Further information about services for students with disabilities and the accommodation process is available upon request at this number.

SMCC Pay-for-Print Policy
Students can print 100 pages per semester for free. If you print over 100 pages, you will be charged 10 cents per page to your Beacon Bucks account. Left over pages will roll over to the following semester but will zero out at the end of the academic year. A pilot project tracking public printing has shown that this amount of free printing meets the needs of the vast majority of students. The College's pay-for-print system monitors printing on all public printers (i.e., those in general access labs, library printers, the LAC, and technology labs). Each time you log in to the system, the print station displays the remaining print quota.  Once the printing quota has been exceeded, users will be charged $0.10 per page on their Beacon Bucks accounts. Color printouts will be charged at 11-page units. This means each color printout will count as 11 pages toward the quota and cost $1.10.  Students can add money to their cards using a credit card online.

Add-Drop Policy

Students who drop a course during the one-week “add/drop” period in the fall and spring semesters and the first three days of summer sessions receive a 100% refund of the tuition and associated fees for that course.  Please note any course that meets for less than the traditional semester length, i.e., 15 weeks, has a pro-rated add/drop period.  There is no refund for non-attendance.

Withdrawal Policy
A student may withdraw from a course only during the semester in which s/he is registered for that course. The withdrawal period is the second through twelfth week of the fall and spring semesters and the second through ninth week of twelve-week summer courses. This period is pro-rated for shorter-length courses.  To withdraw from a course, a student must complete and submit the appropriate course withdrawal form, available at the Enrollment Service Center (no phone calls, please).  The designation “W” will appear on the transcript after a student has officially withdrawn.  A course withdrawal is an uncompleted course and may adversely affect financial aid eligibility.  Failure to attend or ceasing to attend class does not constitute withdrawal from the course.  There is no refund associated with a withdrawal.

Plagiarism Statement
Adherence to ethical academic standards is obligatory. Cheating is a serious offense, whether it consists of taking credit for work done by another person or doing work for which another person will receive credit. Taking and using the ideas or writings of another person without clearly and fully crediting the source is plagiarism and violates the academic code as well as the Student Code of Conduct. If it is suspected that a student in any course in which s/he is enrolled has knowingly committed such a violation, the faculty member should refer the matter to the College’s Disciplinary Officer and appropriate action will be taken under the Student Code of Conduct. Sanctions may include suspension from the course and a failing grade in the course. Students have the right to appeal these actions to the Disciplinary Committee under the terms outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.

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