Senior Fine Arts Seminar
Ethan Berry Seminar Coordinator
Caroline Bagenal, Greg Cook, Discussion Instructors
A significant program of studio and critical work for students concentrating in fine arts, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography, this course is intended to help develop the students' maturity and independence as artists. The course includes several aspects:
(1) The students will prepare a substantial body of work under the guidance of the seminar coordinator and their chosen faculty advisor, a representative part of which will be presented to the public in a small group show and at the graduation exhibition.
(2) The student will participate in two seminar meetings each week. The studio meeting will focus on the student's independent work and will be supplemented by group critiques and critiques by visiting artists. The discussion meeting will be devoted to the discussion of weekly readings encompassing a range of critical perspectives on modern and contemporary art. Group meetings will focus on art-world issues and practices.
(3) A designated faculty committee will meet with the student twice each semester to critique the student's work and review his or her progress.
(4) The student and faculty advisor will meet weekly in order to discuss
the independent studio work in which the student is engaged.
(5) The student is required to take advantage of at least ONE individual critique
with a visiting artist.
Senior Seminar I, 6 credits; Senior Seminar II, 6 credits, to be awarded by the instructors.
The ability honestly and accurately to evaluate one's work and its place in the culture is nearly as essential as passion and hard work in the studio. Context contributes to content, and therefore an artist must be aware of the contemporary critical dialogue — in order to interpret it as well as to challenge it. Through exposure to various points of view the student will have the opportunity to establish a personal critical perspective. The development of intellectual and evaluative skills is not an end in itself; rather, the objective is to use those skills in the service of the student's continuing growth as a visual artist.
Course Format — Studio Component:
Each section of the FAS will meet with a Studio Instructor once a week.
These meetings will be devoted to a discussion of the work being created in the senior studios and critiques of student works led by the students. The instructor will meet with individuals in their studios, and the remainder of the class time will be used by the students to work in their studios or participate in student-led group critiques.
Senior reviews occur twice during the semester and are essential to the format of FAS. All seniors must be prepared to participate in their reviews on the scheduled date.
Students will be asked to write an artist's statement prior to each of the senior reviews. The purpose of the statement is to help the students organize and clarify the issues that are relevant to them at the time of the reviews.
Course Format — Discussion Component:
Each section of the FAS will meet with the Discussion instructor once a week.
Weekly reading assignments will be drawn from a variety of journals and articles. The readings will be photocopied and handed out in class.
All students are required to participate in class discussions. In addition, weekly written responses to the readings will be required.
Two major assignments will also be required. The first assignment will be medium-length paper, and the second assignment is an individual presentation. Specific paper and presentation instructions will be handed out during the semester. The assignments will count toward the grade for the discussion component of the seminar as follows: papers and presentation 60% (30% each); responses to weekly readings and participation in class discussions 40%. Important note: Papers must be turned in on the due date for your section. Late papers will be graded down, and any paper not received within one week of the due date will automatically receive a failing grade. It is the responsibility of the student to discuss with the instructor any extenuating circumstances affecting their ability to meet deadlines.
Course Format — Visiting Artists and Group Meetings:
There will be three Visiting Artist lectures each semester that students will be required to attend. These may be scheduled during the lunch hour (11:30-12:30) or the visiting Artist may present during senior seminar class time. After the lectures the visiting artist may also meet with senior seminar students for a general discussion or for critiques of student work outside of class time.
Additional Meetings Assignments:
Senior Seminar students should make every effort to go on the one-day New York City trip that is held each semester. We may also arrange some visits to Boston-area museums and galleries. Students who are absolutely unable to participate in field trips because of scheduling difficulties should go to the exhibitions on their own. Students should check with Student Services office to check on the schedule of school sponsored “First Friday” trips to Boston Galleries.
Portfolio Review- Graduating seniors prepare a digital portfolio of their work for an in- person presentation to a portfolio review panel at the end of the semester.
Other writing assignments- One Hundred Fifty Words – Based on interviews and viewings, students will write a brief description of another senior’s work.
Criteria For Credit
FAS 400 is a 6-credit course.
Credit for the FAS will be awarded by the seminar coordinator in consultation with the discussion instructors, acting on an equal basis. Students must pass both the studio AND discussion components in order to pass the course as a whole, and the final grade will be based on the student's combined performance.
Among the factors that will be considered are:
1. Independent Studio — The minimum requirement for the studio component will be the development each semester of a significant body of work as determined by the studio instructor in consultation with the review panel. All work shown to the review panel must be from the FAS studio or identified as supporting material. Absence from a review may result in an incomplete or no credit. Students are required to work a minimum of 15 hours each week outside of scheduled class meetings developing FAS studio course work.
2. Discussion Component — Students are required to complete all reading and writing assignments on time. The weekly discussions are a significant part of the FAS and it is not possible to participate in them without knowledge of the reading assignments. The students will be evaluated on the basis of their written work and their participation in class discussions based on the readings. Students must complete all the papers and presentations in order to receive credit for the course.
Writing Center Resource
It is Montserrat’s goal that learning experiences be as accessible as
possible. If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability,
please let us know so that we can discuss options. You are also
welcome to contact Colleen Michaels, Director of the Writing Studio
3. Senior Thesis Shows — Students who are completing their second semester of the FAS are required to exhibit work in a thesis exhibition. The work exhibited in the thesis exhibition serves both to demonstrate the student’s artistic achievements and competencies and to demonstrate two successful semesters in FAS.
4. Attendance — Students are required to be on time for all classes. Frequent absences or tardiness may result in a lower grade or no credit.