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What to Expect from Art Studio Courses


Purposes and Intent

The following is an outline of the purposes art studio courses serve and the policies to be followed in order to make them the most meaningful and useful:

  • To introduce a variety of visual principles through projects, demonstrations, discussion of work produced.
  • To discuss and question the current project, in informal discussion with each other, the instructor, and group critiques. Short-term projects are often due at the beginning of the following class whilst others will be developed over several weeks.
  • To gain sufficient headway working on an assignment in the early stages that you can continue to develop your work and ideas beyond the confines of a course or classroom situation. This includes:
    • Understanding materials and processes.
    • Familiarization in the use of tools.
    • Realizing some possibilities of personal investigations and exploring alternative solutions.
    • Sharing concepts and techniques with each other.
    • Resolving problems brought up in class discussion.
    • Developing self-discipline, time-management, and good studio work habits.
  • To learn how to: Function collaboratively in a group setting; respect the property of other students; maintain a shared studio space.
  • To learn to take good care of and to present your work professionally and on time. Pay attention to how you hang work for a critique. When you present your portfolio to an instructor, college admissions officer, or possible employer, work should be organized, neatly presented, edited, and easy to view and handle.
  • To learn to effectively manage your time. Realistic time periods are allowed for completion of projects, but deadlines are a fact of life and must be met: Missing deadlines is disruptive and inconsiderate to the rest of the class. Art studio classes meet four hours per week – a relatively short time - you should expect to work outside of class for at least eight hours per week per studio course.

The Nature of the Studio Course

Our studio courses meet in our art studios. Studios are mature work environments and are not suitable places for minors. As a result, children are not permitted to attend studio class meetings or to be present in those spaces during out-of-class work periods. This policy includes digital studios, darkroom, fine art studios, shop, etc.

GCC also has its own policies regarding guests and minors:

Policy on Guests and/or Children Visiting a Classroom

At times, students who are parents run into short-term child care problems and may request that they bring their child to a class. In addition, a student may request that they bring a guest to the classroom. The faculty person may use his or her discretion in deciding whether that is appropriate. As written in the Student Handbook, "responsibility for the supervision and safety of guests on campus who are minors shall rest with the person who brings that minor to campus. This responsibility is applicable at all times both inside and outside college facilities. Greenfield Community College cannot accept responsibility for the safety or conduct of minors who may visit the college with college employees, students or guests." (pp. 49-50, Faculty Handbook)

Children on Campus Policy

"Responsibility for the supervision and safety of guests on campus who are minors shall rest with the person who brings that minor on campus. This responsibility is applicable at all times both inside and outside college facilities. Greenfield Community College cannot accept responsibility for the safety or conduct of minors who may visit the college with college employees, students or guests. College public safety personnel will be notified in those cases where conduct is disruptive and/or safety is in jeopardy. The parents, guardians or caretaker of the minor will be located and brought to the situation to secure the child and remedy the problem." (p. 52, Student Handbook)


Learning to participate in a critique and to talk insightfully about your own work and the work of other people is one of the most valuable skills you will acquire and will help you to continue developing as an artist beyond the classroom. A critique is a detailed analysis and assessment of the merits and shortcomings of a work of art. All critiques should provide both supportive and critical feedback that enables you to continue to explore and develop your ideas.

You must bring work to critiques even if you consider it weak or unfinished. The focus of the critique is an objective assessment of the work rather than of the process through which it was created. It is important to learn to embrace the risk involved in talking about other people's work and opening yourself up to discussing your own work.

Issues that may come up in critique are:

  • The artist's intent.
  • Subject matter and how the work is structured formally.
  • Craft.
  • Discussion of the content of the work.
  • Identifying some of the points of emphasis in a work.
  • Consideration of your primary and secondary audience.
  • The political and social issues inherent in your work.
  • What is and what is not working well.

Attendance Policy

It is essential that you attend every class meeting. The day you miss a class will inevitably be the day of an important demonstration or critique. We hope you remain in good health and understand that emergencies can occur (such as people getting sick). In bad weather call 775-1010 before coming to school to make sure the college is open. Also, remember to allow extra time for poor traveling conditions. Never schedule medical and other appointments during class time. If you miss a class for any reason you must:

  • When possible let the instructor know ahead of time.
  • On your return, and prior to your next class meeting make an appointment to review what you have missed (do not rely on fellow students for this information unless you have checked with the instructor first). This is your responsibility. Please keep in mind that a missed class can never be fully made up.
  • Part-time instructors do not have regular office hours. See if your instructor can offer an appointment time during the days on which your class meets.
  • Plan on working extra time outside of class make up the work you missed.

While in Class

The art studio is a collaborative environment: Students arrive promptly to set up so they can go right to work or set up for a critique; they share concepts and techniques with each other without fear of intrusion, exchange ideas and criticism willingly and often. Demonstrations are typically made during the beginning of a class, so plan on arriving on time, sufficiently supplied, and ready to work. Bring your current work and a notebook/sketchbook/journal to every class meeting.

Do not be misled by the apparent amount of freedom you have in a studio class. You may move about the studio to see how other students are resolving problems or using materials, but not during a lecture or demonstration. Personal audio players are not to be used during class and cell phones must be switched off (or set to vibrate during an emergency situation). Web browsing, email, and other online social activities are also forbidden. Remember, you are here to work: Conversation should revolve around the work at hand rather than social issues, and must not be disruptive to others who are working.

Bringing breakfast, lunch, or dinner to the studio is also forbidden. The dining commons provides ample seating for students to enjoy their meals. The studio is to be treated as a serious work environment.


Studio courses without ART prerequisites are subject to the letter grading policies outlined in the college catalog. Studio courses with 200-level ART prerequisites are graded Pass/Fail/Incomplete. Work is reviewed periodically throughout the semester and progress assessed by the instructor.

Criteria for Grading:

  • Willingness to work hard and in depth.
  • Willingness to take risks in relation to new concepts, content, techniques, and processes.
  • The quantity, quality and strength of work throughout the semester.
  • Class attendance and punctuality.
  • Contribution to class discussions and critiques.
  • The willingness and ability to extend investigative work on a project over a period of time.
  • Growth in the understanding of the visual language, issues, and concepts.
  • Development of competence in the manipulation of materials and media.

NOTE: The above criteria are designed as a guideline to help you succeed in your course of study and are used by your instructor in evaluating your progress. They are qualities that will impact the strength of your work throughout the semester and final portfolio.

Download a printable Final Evaluation Formpdf icon

Download a printable Final Evaluation Form (short version)pdf icon

Student Work

As an artist it is critical to keep your portfolio intact. A portfolio of work from each course is due for presentation at the end of the semester. Your work may be held for a reasonable period of time upon course completion. Student work is frequently considered for inclusion in the annual Student Art Show in the spring, Student Planner, Art Department Web Site, and other publications and initiatives.

It is your responsibility to clean out your lockers and flat files and to pick up your class portfolios at the end of the semester. All lockers and flats files must have their locks removed and be emptied prior to the Art Department clean up day (posted before finals prior to the end of the academic year).