Spring 2017 participants

You can find posts about activities of our Spring 2017 students in the category listing “2017 Spring Projects.”

For the Spring 2017 semester, the projects of the Art & Society course will be within the context of a collaborative project mapping contemporary art projects in response to specific locations.  Sponsored by the Region of Tuscany and in collaboration with the design team of Studio21 and the Santa Chiara FabLab of the University of Siena.  The end goal is to co-create an online platform “map-my-art” allowing images, videos, text, and other materials to be shared highlighting recent contemporary projects and work-in-progress which responds to specific locations in the territory of Siena.

Spring 2017 Students include:

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.  The online platform we will create together opens up an additional venue to share your artistic creations with a broader audience, in addition to opportunities to share your work in-person, specifically during the Mid-Term Open Studio and the End-of-Semester Exhibition.

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 semester, 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.

Being part of a diverse and multi-cultural group, we also will explore how the concept of “Cultural Intersections” relates to our increasingly global and intercultural 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 semester, 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 Spring 2017 semester will be divided into three main project units:

Intro Unit: Orientation and Disorientation:  Exploring the City

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 perspectives.  Project assignments include the “Points of Entry” (weeks 2 & 3) and “Tempo Zulu” (week 4)

Mid-Term Unit: Points of Inspiration

Building upon your intro unit explorations, we will be working on the development of artistic projects addressing themes of site-specificity, considering how artworks can be ways of communicating your own personal experience and point of view to a broad audience, and how spaces can embody far-reaching concepts such as social dynamics, environmental issues, and cultural intersections.  We will work together to utilize the “map-my-art” digital platform to build an archive of projects responding to specific locations, and to explore how this platform can allow your work to be shared in a new context. The Mid-Term unit will include a Mid-Term Open Studio on Tuesday March 28th. Beginning Feb 21st, weekly presentations of visiting artists and writers 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 May 13th, 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.


The Art & Society Course:

The interdisciplinary Art & Society Course is central to the mission of the Siena Art Institute.  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 cultural/artistic spaces, 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.

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. Excursions as well as reference materials such as book excerpts and articles will further enhance the development of your artistic projects during the semester.

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 Residents as well as other guests, 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.