The senior project in studio art is regarded as the culmination of the major. Affording the opportunity for independent scholarship and creative work, the project is an important and exciting step designed to help prepare the student for professional activity and/or graduate work. Consistent and serious effort/investigation is expected throughout the course.

Self-discipline, desire, and receptivity to criticism are essential.


I. Primary Objective

The student is expected to produce and present for exhibition a cohesive body of work that shows in-depth investigation of a specific theme or idea. The exhibition may take place in either the Deming Alternative Gallery (1st floor hallway) or Hunt Gallery. It should be noted that the exhibition will include only work made for the senior project. In other words, it is not to be a “retrospective” of your art career at Mary Baldwin College.

II. Meetings/Critiques

Students are required to work in the studio during the scheduled class time; and, they should also plan to spend many hours on their work outside of class – a minimum total of 15 hours per week. Each student will be working independently; however, she is required to meet with me on an individual basis a minimum of six times during the semester (it is the responsibility of each student to arrange meeting times with me). All senior project students are required to participate in two group critiques during the semester (see schedule for these dates and times). These group critiques will involve other Art Department faculty – typically 4-5 studio and art history instructors participate. As always, informed, perceptive, and caring participation by students is expected. VERY IMPORTANT: See section IX, “Expectations for the Critiques and Oral Competency”

III. Writing/Reading Requirements

A. Early in the semester (by the end of the second week) a brief, type-written "contract" indicating the student's intentions and goals for the project is due at my office.

B. Prior to and as a component of the exhibition/project, the student will write an artist’s statement (or statement of intent for her work). This statement -- which must be a minimum of three word-processed pages -- should include an informed and meaningful discussion of the work in the context of contemporary art and issues, a narrative of the work's development, and a discussion of specific ideas relating to the artist's intention. Copies of this statement must be distributed to your committee members at least 24 hours in advance of the final evaluation/defense.

C. Finally, as one progresses as an artist, it becomes important to be aware of ideas and issues in the contemporary art scene. Therefore, the senior project student will occasionally be required to read selected critical essays and/or issue-related articles. There will be informal follow-up discussions. Also, it almost goes without saying that you are expected to be reading/researching information that relates specifically to the project and your development as an artist.

IV. Selecting a Faculty Committee for the Final Evaluation

As time draws near to the exhibition (at least 3 - 4 weeks in advance) you will select four faculty members as a committee who will be involved in the final evaluation of the exhibition/project. As your supervising professor, I will be one; you will choose two other faculty members from the Art Department; and, one faculty member outside the department will be the fourth. It is your responsibility to contact these people and make all necessary arrangements (e.g. scheduling a time for your defense/final critique during the exhibition, etc.) well in advance of the defense.

V. Logistics of the Exhibition

A. Each exhibition will last approximately six days (usually starting on a Tuesday and running through Sunday). The length of the show may be extended, depending upon the number of senior projects. The exhibition may take place in either the Deming Alternative Gallery (1st floor hallway) or Hunt Gallery.

B. Each exhibition should be regarded as a solo exhibition -- although you may be showing with other students in the same space.

C. There should be an opening reception for the artist, and it should be held on the first day of the exhibition. This should be viewed as a time of celebration; an "artist's talk" is not required.

D. Students are responsible for designing, printing and distributing invitations.

E. Students are responsible for installing and taking down the exhibition (with my guidance).

F. If students wish to have food, etc. at the opening reception, they are responsible for providing it.

VI. The Senior Project Studio

In addition to using the large studio in Deming, the Senior Project Room is yours to use. Depending upon the number of students taking Art 401 at a given time, a schedule allowing for sharing of the space may need to be established. Please cooperate with one another.

VII. Honor Code

It is naturally expected that all students will adhere to the Mary Baldwin College Honor Code in the various activities of this course.

VIII. Grading

Grading will be based on the overall quality of the work and the depth and seriousness brought to the development of the project. Needless to say, at the 400-level my expectations will be quite high.

The artwork and exhibition will constitute approximately 85% of the final grade. Participation in critiques, the formal artist’s statement, and the student’s oral presentation during the defense (the final critique in Hunt Gallery) will be approximately 15% of the final grade.

IX. Expectations for the Critiques and Oral Competency

The combination of this course with the 300-level course in the same area of concentration (e.g. Art 401 and Art 312) fulfills the College’s oral competency requirement. By the time you complete this course, you will have participated in a minimum of five group critiques – formal opportunities to demonstrate oral competency regarding studio art production and the conceptualization processes that accompany it. Group critiques afford the opportunity for students to perform effectively as both speaker and audience. Each student-artist will explain her artwork via description of

Group critiques typically offer opportunities for lively exchange and a serious consideration of various issues and ideas; and, they are an excellent vehicle for promoting analytical and critical thinking skills. Each student will receive a written evaluation following each group critique.