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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, we also have lively class discussions, visiting artists and various field-trips to current exhibitions and on-campus MakerSpaces. 

What kinds of assignments are we going to have?

Assignment 1: Break out of your box! - Making a shadowbox with a hidden element. This assignment focuses of space (spatial relationships) and form, and uses basic woodshop tools, Rhinoceros/Illustrator and a lasercutter.

Assignment 2: Color in in! - Making of a sprawling wall installation with color and patterns. This assignment 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 uses on-site observation, photography, ink drawing and experimental practices.


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? 

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 woodshop 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 in the demonstrated processes/tools;
  • 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. 


100 points total is possible to earn in this class. See Course Work and Grading above to see what the scoring will be based on.

You will receive  up to 10 pts. each week for completion of prep work, research, small practice projects, participation, and the like. Points will be posted in the Canvas Assignment.

Read assignment feedback 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. 


Project 1 (30 pts total)

Project 2 (30 pts total)

Project 3 (30 pts total)

Bonus points (10 pts total)


How does the Point System translate into grades?

Letter Number Points
A 4.0-3.9 98-100
A- 3.8-3.5 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. 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, emergency or random act of nature should prevent you from attending class or preparing for it, contact the instructor ASAP with your best effort for keeping up with the assignment and working out a mutually agreeable schedule.
  • At all times, you are responsible for:
    • checking Schedule, Assignment and Announcement updates on Canvas;
    • following up with a classmate for class notes and information;
    • 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. You will not be asked for a doctor's note for 1 missed day (up to 2 days/quarter) but in order to receive accommodation from the instructor, you will need to show documentation if your situations prevents your full engagement with the class beyond that.


  • Have a sketchbook and collect related observations, ideas, research, reading 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, technical staff, artist guests, 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 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. 

More about Grading and Absence:

Assignments will receive extensive verbal feedback during critiques and brief summary of strengths and weaknesses along with the points earned on Canvas.

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. 

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. For class content information you must consult Canvas first, follow up with a classmate, 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. 

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: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:01pm