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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New intro marks Art Major changes

By Eliza-Eve Leas

Upperclassmen at Grinnell may no longer recognize the Art Department’s page in this year’s academic catalog. As changes have come to the major requirements, the most conspicuous difference is the lack of introductory courses. There is now only one introduction that all students must take, and it is a prerequisite for all other studio art classes.
“[The new approach will] change for the better the quality of art education that the school can provide,” Alex Schechter ’10, a member of the Art department’s SEPC, said. “The old intro classes may have been daunting.”
The art department has reconfigured the old introductory line-up of classes such as sculpture and print-making into this single, essential course— Introduction to the Studio.
Intro to the Studio is meant to be “a lot more conceptual,” Maya Ruiz-Stanbury ’11 said.
“[The class is] a combination of a wide range of media and techniques, including drawing, color theory, form theory, composition, two-dimensional and three-dimensional study,” Schechter said.
The changes are intended to address the previous system’s inefficiencies in terms of breadth. This “foundation” course is designed to “give students a basic media approach and a wide [art] vocabulary,” Matthew Kluber, Art, said.
Students who took an old intro class completed the prerequisite for all 200-level courses, but were only well prepared for the specific medium they had studied. Teachers of 200-level courses then had to contend with a wide range of skill and familiarity levels. Now, students will learn the basic processes for all of the disciplines, and begin upper-level courses “on the same page,” Kluber said.
The new system is better tailored to the resources of Grinnell’s small art department, while minimizing repetition by still providing students with a range of artistic mediums to work within.
Introduction to the Studio is now a requirement for the Art major, but Kluber and the Art Department worked carefully with the registrar to ensure that students who had completed the old, specialized introductory classes would not be required to take the new version. However, “some upperclassmen have opted to take it anyway,” Kluber said.
“Students seem to be enthused about the new class,” Schecter said. And a wide range of second and third years have elected to take it.
“I definitely like the idea,” Susanna Moller ’12, who is in Introduction to the Studio, said, “but I’ve only had [the class] three or four times.”

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