Fall 2016 participants

You can follow the activities of our students in the Fall 2016 semester Art and Society course through the blog listings of “Fall 2016 Projects” category, and through their profile pages listed here:

Art and Society Fall 2016 Course Description:

The interdisciplinary Art & Society Course is central to the mission of the Siena Art Institute (“SART”), and is required for all students.

The course allows students to develop substantive projects to further their portfolio development, and to have numerous opportunities to interact with a diverse array of artists, to deepen their understanding of contemporary art practices, and the various roles that artists can play in a broader social context.

The course is divided into three project units: the 3-week Introductory Project Unit, the 6-week Mid-Term Project Unit, and the 5-week Final Project Unit. Through the progression of these projects, students are guided through the production of a strong personal body of work, fostering their ongoing portfolio development.

Students’ work on their individual artistic projects is augmented by an exploration of the city of Siena and its surrounding territory as a complex historical and social setting to which students are asked to respond artistically. A variety of activities, including collaborative projects, research, visits to galleries, museums, and other locations in the local area, presentations from guest artists and creative professionals, and discussions of assigned readings contribute inspiration and context for students’ projects.

There is an organized calendar of group critiques and individual advising sessions, to ensure that students are receiving constructive feedback from a variety of perspectives about their developing artistic projects. In this intimate and rich setting, the feedback opportunity for the students is exceptional.

Formal group critiques are held during the intro unit, the mid-term and at the end of the semester, during which all students will be present to offer constructive criticism to students regarding their work.

The course includes discussion of career development, offering students guidance as they embark on their careers as emerging artists.

As part of the Art and Society course, students will have opportunities to interact with our visiting artists. After our intro unit, every Tuesday evening at 6 pm there is a presentation as part of our series “stARTers: assaggi d’arte”. Presentations are led by our Resident Artists as well as other guest artists, critics, musicians, writers, etc. Students are required to attend all presentations in English, and are encouraged to attend the other presentations in Italian as well.

For the Fall 2016 semester, the projects of the Art & Society course will be inspired by the work of our visiting artist, including Fall Project Fellow, Pakistaini artist Imran Qureshi, who will be pursuing a site-specific project inspired by the settings of Siena and San Gimignano, drawing upon his background in the traditions of Pakistani miniature painting and his interest in intercultural intersections and connecting historic artistic approaches to contemporary realities.

How can your newfound surroundings in Siena serve as inspiration for the development of your own artistic projects?  In your decision to study at the Siena Art Institute, you are obviously interested in exploring new territories and being in contact with different cultures. We will be experiencing the history of Italy as well as its contemporary realities, and to use this inspiration to propel your ongoing artistic development.

In the Art and Society course this semester, we will be working together to explore and be inspired by our surroundings here in Tuscany, and to consider how the dynamics of inter-cultural dialogue can impact our contemporary art practices. You will be guided through a series of projects to foster your ongoing portfolio development, receiving feedback about your work from your classmates, teachers, and our visiting artists. Visits to cultural sites, exhibitions, and museums, as well as reference materials such as books and articles will further enhance the development of your artistic projects during the semester.

This semester you find yourself in the middle of Tuscany, one of the world’s most celebrated territories. Often the standard images and ideas about Tuscany today remain at the level of stereotypes and superficial understandings, romantic touristic “postcard views” of the scenic landscape. During the Art & Society course this Fall, you will come to a deeper understanding of this territory, its complex culture, diverse population, and multi-layered social dynamics. Our initial projects this semester will ask you to specifically respond to your newfound surroundings here, as a way to begin your artistic endeavors in response to the unique location in which you find yourself.

Looking beyond the specific context of our setting in Tuscany, we also will explore how the concept of “Cultural Intersections” relates to our increasingly global and inter-cultural contemporary society. Territorial borders may seem very permeable in today’s world, while at the same time the world is becoming increasingly fractured in relation into “interest groups,” with divisions based on political viewpoints, age, socio-economic status, and educational background. Tensions relating to themes of migration and immigration specifically along border areas around the globe have also lead to new notions of nationalism as well as xenophobia. As your projects develop this fall, you will be encouraged to address some of these broader issues based on your experiences in the region of Siena as well as experiences from your personal backgrounds.

From our precarious positions in a world of unstable territories, what artworks can we create as a response? To guide you in your artistic development, the Art & Society course in the Fall 2016 semester will be divided into three main project units:

Intro Unit: Orientation and Disorientation:  Exploring the City / Tempo Zulu

Using our initial explorations of Siena to explore different ways of responding to our newfound surroundings in Siena, looking beyond a touristic appreciation of the city, we will explore how alternative paths, maps, and walks can become rich source material for artistic inspiration using our own contemporary perspecitves.  Project assignments include the “Walk of Destiny (week 2) and “Tempo Zulu (weeks 3-4)

Mid-Term Unit: Cultural Intersections:  

Building upon your intro unit explorations, we will be working on the development of artistic projects addressing themes of intersections and encounters between cultures as seen through your eyes.  We will be inspired by the work of our visiting artists during this period: poet Mairead Byrne and artists Imran Queshi and Aisha Khalid.  The Mid-Term unit will include an Open Studio on occasion of the AMACI Giornata del Contemporarneo (Contemporary Day of the AMACI Museum Association) on Saturday Oct 15th as well as a Mid-Term Open Studio on Tuesday Oct 25th. Beginning September 27th, weekly presentations of visiting artists will take place each Tuesday at 6 pm as part of our series “stARTers: assaggi d’arte.”

Final Projects:

Culminating in the end-of-semester exhibition opening Saturday Dec 10th, held at the Siena Art Institute, you will further expand upon your ongoing studio work for the creation of your end-of-semester project. Over mid-term break you will be asked to send us a written project proposal explaining your ideas for your final project, and through individual advising, thematic discussions, and group critiques, we will support you in the development of your final project work. The final exhibition will stay on view for one week and is free and open to the public.