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ART 131 B: Alternative Approaches to Art and Design

Meeting Time: 
MW 11:30am - 2:20pm
ART 207
Timea Tihanyi
Timea Tihanyi

Syllabus Description:



AUTUMN 2019 Mondays and Wednesdays 11:30am-2:20pm

Instructor: Timea Tihanyi

Office hours: before and after class on MW. Please email ahead of time to set up appointment.

Classroom: ART 207



Alternative Art and Design Approaches

What is this course about?

This is a hands-on studio art course, which explores various forms of making from analogue practices to digital ones, from traditional techniques to experimental contemporary approaches in 2D, 3D and 4D. In addition to the work classes, which incorporate technical demonstrations and work time on making assignments, we will also have lively class discussions as well as various field-trips, to a variety of exhibitions and MakerSpaces. 

What kinds of assignments are we going to have?

2D: Story telling through found and constructed imagery / digital collage / building a comic strip (Photoshop, Illustrator, Xerox, Scanning)

3D: Space and form: Container and contained (Basic woodshop tools, laser cutting, optional 3D printing)

4D: Time-based practices: Activating space (installation and participatory works)


What questions are we going to ask?

What do artist, designers and innovators make today?

What ideas, materials and tools inspire them?

Which traditions do they build on?

What does interdisciplinary thinking and making mean in visual art and how do we practice it?


Who is this class for?

  • all art and design prospective majors, especially those who have an interest in combining various mediums. 
  • any student interested in art, design, architecture, the humanities, as well as in engineering, HCDE, computer science will benefit greatly from this course.

This is an introductory level art course. No art experience is required. The course is highly participatory and will include several short making projects and one collaborative project, as well as one research assignment with classroom presentation.

You will learn all the skills needed for the projects and will have ample time to develop your projects in class with the help of feedback from the instructor, as well as your peers. Expect to spend an additional 6-8hours/week studio time on completing the assignments, doing the required readings and preparing for the class discussions, and doing the research assignment.  


What skills will I learn in this course? (Course objectives and learning outcomes)

  • Understand and be able to practice the language of 2D visual composition, including those of sequential formats.
  • Get familiar with basic techniques for manipulating found imagery via analogue and digital ways. 
  • Get familiar with woodshop and makerspace tools, such as band-saw, chop-saw and hand power-tools, as well as with the operation of the laser cutter
  • Understand and be able to practice the language of 3D visual composition, including larger formats that use space, such as an installation. 
  • Practice Conceptualizing and developing interdisciplinary ideas that are informed by a variety of materials, making processes and ideas.
  • Skills for conducting interdisciplinary research and for participating in a dialogue. Learning to ask the right research questions. 
  • Develop and evaluate possible solutions to studio art assignments that lead to well-grounded and creative conclusions.
  • Develop and practice presentation and critique skills.


Course Work and Grading

Students are graded based on:

  • individual growth and performance
  • experimentation and interpretation of the demonstrated processes and assignments
  • technical competence and quality of presentation
  • motivation and resourcefulness*
  • participation and preparedness** in critique, discussion, studio maintenance and etiquette, work days
  • time management - the ability to design projects for the given amount of time to complete them

*Emphasis on expanding upon the demonstrated skills, by experimentation, pushing your own boundaries by exploring further possibilities.

**Participation and preparedness with an emphasis on advancing your own as well as others' learning in class. An active engagement with all aspects of the course: Presenting small assignments as listed DUE on Schedule. Active engagement in group and collaborative projects. Preparation for class discussions and work classes, and a demonstration of your understanding of ideas from assigned reading.


This class is worth 100 points.


Project 1 (10 pts)

Project 2 (20 pts)

Project 3 (20 pts)

Project 4 (20 pts)

Collaborative project (15 pts)

Research, reading and final reflection presentation (15pts)

Art Event Review (extra credit)


How does the Point System translate into grades?

96-100 A 4.0

91 A- 3.7

87 B+ 3.3

83 B 3.0

80 B- 2.7

77 C+ 2.3

73 C 2.0

70 C- 1.7

67 D+ 1.3

63 D 1.0

60 D- .7

59-0 F


  • Missed assignments, critiques and any peer or class activities will result in no credit for that assignment.
  • Absences from class prevent participation and thus will result in lost participation credits for the day, negatively affecting the final grade.
  • If sudden illness, emergency or random act of nature should prevent you from attending class, you are responsible for following up with a classmate for class notes, reviewing missed concepts and techniques, checking assignment guidelines, and completing required work ON TIME.
  • If you are sick and contagious, stay at home and get better. If you must miss a class due to illness, let your instructor know immediately and develop a timeline for keeping up with the assignment.


  • Have a sketchbook and collect ideas, research notes and reading summaries, and technical notes in it.
  • Check Canvas regularly, at least twice a week and the day before class, for updates.
  • Participate! Add relevant content to the topical discussions and group activities. Ask questions and interact with the instructor, guest speakers, and your peers. 
  • Electronics (laptops, tablets, phones and other smart devices) are only allowed when the instructor calls for their use. Outside of these times, turn off and put these away.
  • No headphones, earbuds in during class.
  • Class begins and ends at the appointed time. We will take breaks as appropriate. Arrive on time and plan to stay for the entire duration of class. Tardy attendance will result in the loss of participation points. 

More about Grading and Absence:

Assignments will receive verbal feedback during critiques and a letter grade.

Revision of completed assignments for a higher grade is available until the final class meeting but requires advanced approval of revision timeline and plans by the instructor. 

Absences are highly discouraged as they will interfere with your timely progress in class and take away your ability to participate. 

If you must miss a class, let me know via email ( in advance or as soon as possible and also provide me with a plan for making up for lost work and information. In general, you must consult Canvas first, follow up on new techniques from a classmate or online source, then, if need additional help, contact me. 

Make up of missed preparation/assignments:

There is no make up for participation, including participation in critiques. Assignments are due during in-class critique as stated on course schedule. If an unforeseen emergency prevents you from attending a critique, you must send me an email with clear images of the finished work before class and be ready to present the assignment in person at the next class. This should be a very last option reserved to special cases of unforeseen emergency and cannot be used to cover for unfinished assignments. In it is your interest to participate in the critique with work finished to the best of your skills and ability. 

Late assignments have the penalty of -10% with each additional day, up to 5 days (at which point the assignment receives a failing grade). 

If you have any questions or concerns about the course, please email me for appointment to discuss them. 


Also see School of Art + AH + D Policies: Policies 2019.pdf

Interpretation of Grading Scale:

A 4.0-3.9 The highest possible performance in all aspects of the course with work exemplifying exceptional quality. Exhibits outstanding creative potential.
A- 3.8-3.7 / B+ 3.6-3.5 Exhibits creative potential with superior performance in most aspects of the course; high quality in the remainder. Well prepared for subsequent courses in the field.
B 3.4-3.3 / B- 3.2 High performance in most aspects of the course. Very good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field. Exhibits some creative potential.
C+ 3.1-3.0 / C 2.8-2.9 Good performance in some of the course; satisfactory performance in the remainder. Exhibits some creative potential. Good chance of success in subsequent courses in the field.
C- 2.7 / D+ 2.5-2.6 Demonstrates the minimum amount of research needed to complete the course with satisfactory performance.
D 2.1-2.4 Met basic requirements in most of the course, with the remainder being somewhat substandard.
F 2.0 and below Did not meet basic requirements for class.



Catalog Description: 
Presentation of process through which artists discover and translate ideas, feelings, and concerns into images or objects. Use of a wide variety of methods and approaches, from traditional to technological, to promote visual expression. Discussion and critiques leading toward better understanding the creative process.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
May 8, 2019 - 4:00am