Two female-presenting students with laptops sit on the floor of an art gallery, their backs to the wall and legs outstretched.

Academics

Arts Core

The Arts Core offers students many ways to explore a wide variety of art forms. Some of the Arts Core classes ask students to look and listen; others ask them to enact or recite; some function like conventional seminars, others are more like experimental laboratories. Irrespective of their form or content, all of the Arts Core classes challenge students to think in creative and original ways, forming meaningful and inventive interpretations in dialogue with others. Each course is designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of students and although each course represents a particular field, no specialized knowledge is expected of students who enroll. What they do expect, is a willingness to explore – be it a longstanding fascination or a newfound interest, in whatever medium, from whatever era.

Arts Curriculum

Art History courses fulfilling the Arts Core requirement help students develop skills in the perception, comprehension, and interpretation of the visual arts. They teach the close analysis of particular works, explore the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given period, culture, genre, or medium, and critically examine the methods of the historical study of art. In addition, all courses foster in students the ability to translate their skills and understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written.

Cinema & Media Studies Arts Core courses seek to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and interpretation of films or other moving image media. They encourage the close analysis of audiovisual forms, their materials and formal attributes, and explore the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given film or moving image text. They also examine the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study and understanding of moving images. Most importantly, the courses aim to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Texts and films are drawn from the history of narrative, experimental, animated, and documentary or non-fiction cinema. Screenings are a mandatory and vital component of these courses.

Creative Writing courses fulfilling the Arts Core Curriculum are multi-genre seminars that introduce students to various aesthetic, historical, and technical topics in creative writing. They help students approach the reading and production of literature from the writer’s point of view, not only through close analysis of particular works, but also through writing exercises and class critiques of students’ creative work. Generally taught under two headings—"Reading as a Writer" and "Intro to Genres”—these courses aim to make students better craftsmen as well as better critics, no matter the genre.

The Music Arts Core courses develop students’ ability to listen critically, understand, and create music. Skills taught in these courses include: how to analyze and interpret music by ear; how to describe and use musical techniques; how to parse historical and sociological issues that shape music and its reception, including class, gender, and race; how to understand music within various cultures from across the world; and how to create music in dialogue with models from various periods and styles. Our Music Core courses are alternately historical, cultural, analytical, and creative in nature; all of them aim to enhance your ability to speak and write about music. All aim for a synthesis, whereby your critical perspective is informed by technical and aesthetic understanding of the music itself, as well as a nuanced engagement with music’s social and cultural contexts.

By combining embodied experience and intellectual rigor, Arts Core courses in Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS) teach students to think about performance, to think by performing, and to ask what sorts of thinking performances make possible. Arts Core courses in TAPS train students in the theory and practice of theater and performance. Our students learn how to understand, analyze, and experience performance texts and performance-making through a variety of parallel modes of engagement: they devise, design, and perform; they read, discuss, and write; and they attend professional productions.

Through studio work and critical analysis, the Arts Core courses offered through Visual Arts explore the conventions of making and viewing images, sculpture, performance, and moving images. Students learn and practice this analytical creativity by making visual art, by observing others make visual art, and through regular critiques in which student works are critically discussed by all members of the class. As students hone their observational skills, they learn to see, imagine, and think about the world differently. Visits to museums and other cultural sites allow students to practice their art of seeing and imagining in dialogue with the work of other artists.

Read More About the Arts Core Courses