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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


Go to course Schedule


What is this course about?

This hands-on studio art course bridges various forms of analogue and digital making practices in 2D, 3D and time-based media. The course explores a broad spectrum of materials and processes from traditional hand-making techniques to the use of most current technologies.

In this course, we approach art and design in the same thoughtful, experimentation-driven and often collaborative way that is used by contemporary professionals in the art and design fields.

In addition to work classes, which incorporate technical demonstrations, group activities and work time on making assignments, expect lively class discussions and critiques; occasional visiting artists; and field-trips to art exhibitions and UW/SOA+AH+D MakerSpaces. 

What kinds of assignments are we going to have?

Assignment 1: Break out of your box! - Making a shadowbox with a surprise element. This assignment focuses on relationships between space, form and meaning. It uses basic wood shop tools, the 3D design program Rhinoceros and a laser cutter.

Assignment 2: Color it in! - Making a sprawling colorful wall installation with patterns. This assignment focuses on color and pattern; and uses cultural research, photography, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator, a 2D scanner and a vinyl cutter.

Assignment 3: Twist and Fold! - Activating space with a large collaborative sculpture made from paper. This assignment focuses on experimental practices for drawing and combines art and design ideas from the previous assignments. It uses site-specific work (observation and experimentation), ink drawing and exploring the 3D materiality of various types of papers.


What questions are we going to ask?

What do artist and designers make today and how?

What ideas, materials and tools inspire them to create?

What kind of traditions do they build on? 

How do they use digital and traditional practices in combination?

What do interdisciplinary thinking and making mean in visual art and design and how do we practice these?


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, DXARTS, HCDE, CHID, communications, biology, engineering, computer science and the humanities will benefit greatly from this course.

This is an introductory level art course. No art experience is required.

The course is highly participatory, students are expected to attend all class meetings and arrive prepared to work (see more about this in Class Policies below). There are 3 main projects, each with many smaller projects, experimentations and occasional collaborations. 

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 from your peers.

Expect to spend an additional 6-8hours/week studio time on completing projects, doing the required research and preparation (practicing demonstrated techniques, experimenting with new solutions, trial and error, brainstorming, procuring additional supplies, etc.) for the class meeting. 


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

  • Understand the language of 2D visual composition and be able to apply to iterative practices that build on variations of patterns and colors. 
  • Get familiar with the tools in the SOACC and with using basic analogue and digital techniques/tools for manipulating found imagery. 
  • Get familiar with wood shop and MakerSpace tools, such as band-saw, panel-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 developing interdisciplinary ideas that are informed by a variety of materials, making processes and ideas.
  • Skills for conducting interdisciplinary research and observation for visual art/design practice. Learn how to ask the right research questions. 
  • Develop and evaluate possible solutions to art/design questions that lead to well-grounded and creative conclusions.
  • Develop and practice presentation and collaboration skills, 
  • Develop constructive ways for and practice giving feedback to others.


Course Work and Grading

Students are graded based on:

  • Progress: individual investment and growth with regard to Learning Goals;
  • Practice: demonstrating technical competence with processes/tools introduced in class;
  • Experimentation: demonstrating motivation and resourcefulness in creating meaningful individual interpretations of the demonstrated processes;
  • Participation: advancing your own as well as others' learning in class (in discussions, making assignments and critiques);
  • Preparedness: managing time, work load, resources and project needs in order to fully participate in class and get the most out of the course; 
  • Collaboration: contributions made to working with others. 



A total of 100 points total is possible to earn in this class. Scoring will be based on criteria listed under Course Work and Grading above, which will be assessed regularly, each week, throughout the quarter.

What does this mean?

On Project 1: (week 2 and 3: 10 pts/each + week 3: 12 pts.) = 32 points total

On Project 2: (week 5 and 6: 10 pts/each + week 7: 12 pts.) = 32 points total

On Project 3: (week 9 and 10: 10 pts/each + week 11: 12pts.) = 32 points total

Arboretum field trip exercise: 4pts.

Total: 100 points

Points for each week are posted on Canvas. Assignments will receive extensive verbal feedback during critiques and brief summary of strengths and weaknesses along with the points earned will be posted on Canvas.

Always look for instructor’s comment and assignment feedback and read these carefully to see what the strengths and weaknesses of the project were and how to maintain or improve on these for the next project.

There is no extra credit opportunity available. Please do your best to address in time if there are any issues with regard to the successful completion of this course.

I'm always available to discuss your progress and happy to advise you on how to work through the challenges. The best is to email me for an appointment

How does the Point System translate into grades?

Letter Number Points
A 4.0 98-100
A- 3.9-3.5 90-97
B+ 3.4-3.2 85-89
B 3.1-2.9 80-84
B- 2.8-2.5 76-79
C+ 2.4-2.2 73-75
C 2.1-1.9 70-72
C- 1.8-1.5 67-69
D+ 1.4-1.2 64-66
D 1.1-0.9 60-63


Lowest passing grade.



Academic failure.
No credit earned.

55 and below 




  • Assignments are due as posted on the schedule. Assignments must be presented finished during the scheduled class critique. Absence from the critique will result in no credit for the assignment without the instructor’s permission. There is no partial credit or deduction of points available for late completion of the assignment.
  • All preparatory work will receive credit in the class when it's due. Making up at a later time for absence of preparations will not receive credit. 
  • Absences from class prevent participation and thus will result in lost participation credits for the day, negatively affecting the final grade.


  • If sudden illness, unexpected emergency or random act of nature should prevent you from attending class or preparing for it, contact me ASAP with your best effort for keeping up with the assignment and for working out a mutually agreeable schedule.
  • If you have a planned absence, you must deliver assignment ahead of your departure.
  • For class content/information missed due absence, you must consult Canvas first, follow up with a classmate, then, if need additional help, contact me. 


  • If you are sick and contagious, stay at home and get better. You will not be asked for a doctor's note for the missed day (up to 2 days/quarter). For absences more than 2day/quarter, you will need to arrange with the instructor and, additionally, with the registrar, art advising and/or Disability Services, in order to receive accommodation.



  • Have a sketchbook and collect related observations, ideas, research and technical notes in it.
  • Participate! Add relevant content to the topical discussions and group activities. Ask questions and interact with the instructor, technical staff, guests and your peers. 
  • With regard to class content, at all times, you are responsible for:
    • checking Canvas regularly (Schedule, Assignment and Announcement updates);
    • reviewing concepts and techniques, especially if you missed anything;
    • checking assignment guidelines;
    • and completing required work ON TIME.
  • 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, as stated above, are highly discouraged as they will interfere with your timely progress in class and take away your ability to participate. 
  • There is no make up for participation, including participation in critiques.
  • 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 devices away.
  • No headphones, earbuds in during class. Class time is for interaction. 
  • 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. 
  • 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: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:01pm