Senior Seminar
fine arts/art education/art therapy

Course Schedule



A (very tentative) Schedule

Week 1:

Aug. 24

Get Oriented.
What do you want from this course?
Describe and introduce the course
What are the requirements?
When will we meet?  How often? What will be doing at those meetings?
Your goals & directions: where will you be 2 years from now... and how will you get there.

Schedule Senior Exhibit (open times?  galleries available.  shared or alone?)

Your senior exhbit concept: what experience will you create for your viewers?

Week 2:

Aug 31:

Start exploring exhibits as arranged, planned compositions.
Consider what works and what does not work in the current gallery exhibit.
Start looking at resumés, artist's statements and artist biolgraphies as designed communications and expressions. What information and what visual layout traits might you include? How will you engage as well as inform readers -- what will draw them in to explore your work further?

Think ahead about your own exhibit plans. What will it take to get there?

-- Prepare a list of artworks and any unique constructions that might be needed for the exhibit you have planned.
-- Bring a sketches that envision how you will fill the gallery with your vision.


The Artist's Statement

Here are some readings and resources on writing Artist's Statements.
For next week, explore these and bring notes on the highlights and useful ideas that caught your attention.
You'll also write a first draft of an artist's statement for you.

The Dreaded Artist Statement   -- discusses the limitations and difficulty of describing creative process and goals.   Key guidelines:  

Artist Statement Advice/Guidelines -- | 4 example artist statements --

Beautifully short, concise Artist Statements - examples and advice -

Artist Statement Guidelines -- (appologies for article title) examples

Try this...

-- Explain your work to several of your artist friends.  Have them make notes on whatever catches their attention and interests them.

-- Reflect on that conversation -- what did you want to tell them?  What was most important to you that they understand?   How might that be explained more simply or clearly?

-- now, write an introduction to your creative work.  
You might imagine that your exhibit is on display.  You have a small group of visitors who are new to you and your work, but are curious and interested.  What would you tell them about why you create, about what you choose to create, about the themes that interest you, about your influences, about the materials or processes you use?  

You DO NOT need to explain all of that -- only what matters most to you.  But you do need to help your exhibit guests understand and enjoy your work.

For next week write 150-250 word draft artists statement that could be posted in the gallery during your exhibit.   

Bring a print copy, but also keep a digital copy to turn in or keep editing.

This artist’s statement will be revised, probably several times before your exhibit.  This is the start.





Week 3:

Sept. 7



15m podcast on writing an artist's biography - Xanadu Gallery/Jason Horejs (promotes writing services)

List of possible topics for an artist's biography - Renee Phillips (promotes services/book)

Your Plan — Where are you going, and how are you going to get there?

150 word or less description of your professional and/or academic plans, and the key steps to completing those plans.
Consider this a draft, not a final and complete commitment.


Critique Current Show

— What is your general impression of the exhibit? Strong? Weak? Mixed?
Why? What traits inform your response?\

— If you were arranging and hanging the works in this exhibit, what would you have done differently?
( Heights? Groupings? Sequence? Amount of info on labels? Lighting?)

— Is there any theme or unifying traits that make this exhibit a whole, rather than a collection of separate parts?

— Which three works are the strongest in the exhibit... and why?

— Which work(s) detract from, or diminish the quality of the show... and why?

Critique Resumés

You can review the printed resumés we have on file, and/or the many online resumés.


— What distractions or problems are present in this resumé? What would you prefer to change if this were your resumé?

— What impression would you have of this person if this resumé were the only contact you had with them?

— What concerns would you have about this person? Imagine you were hiring them. Imagine they were applying for graduate school.

— Style vs. Substance: Which is more successful? Is one distracting from, or detracting from the other? How so?

Review Basics of Resumé purpose, priorities, essentials.
Skim over info on Exhibit Prep page. Outline show prep tasks by week... what can you get done well before the exhibit opening?






1) See and Crit Exhibit

Critique Show at the Black House

— What is your general impression of the exhibit? What impresses you most about the exhibit?

— If you were arranging and hanging the works in this exhibit, what would you have done differently?
( Heights? Groupings? Sequence? Amount of info on labels? Lighting?)

— Is there any theme or unifying traits that make this exhibit a whole, rather than a collection of separate parts?

— Which three works are the strongest in the exhibit... and why?

— Which work(s) detract from, or diminish the quality of the show... and why?


2) Review Resumé Priorities

Review links on resumé writing.
Write a brief outline of the essential information that should be on a new grad's resumé.
List and describe any information that is optional, but, in some cases, might be advantageous.

3) Crit 2 online resumés
Print the resumé you're critiquing.
— What makes this a strong or effective resumé?
— What is missing that might make it stronger?
— What distracts or detracts from the resumé?

Draft of your resumé.
Outline and collect the essential information. Work out initial wording and layout. Consider pros/cons of a more graphic layout. Consider available templates for layout.

Week 4:

Sept. 14

Draft Resumé Due:
Write a draft of your resumé. It can be a general resume that might be used for an opening position in your field. Typically, you will revise the basic resumé for particular job openings.

Resume Layout Concept Sketch:
Sketch out the appearance/layout of a creative resumé. For now, don't execute your layout. Don't limit yourself to layouts that you know how to make. Instead, look over the web posted resumés and dream a bit. Recognize that for some jobs or graduate school applications, you will likely use a fairly tame, conventional layout. But for this concept, imagine the most self-expressive resumé layout that could present you and your skills.

Exhibit Prep Timeline:
Outline the key steps, and deadlines/dates between now and opening your exhibit.
For each step along the way, estimate how many hours might be needed to complete that step.
Include works that need to be completed, works that need to be matted/framed for presentation, and works that are yet to be created.


Week 5:

Sept. 21

Draft of Cover Letter

Write a cover letter for the Resumé you're completing, below.
Consider that a cover letter is usually written to a particular person, or a person in a particular position or role. Direct your comments to them as personally as possible.
Though you don't need to duplicate the information in your Resumé, feel free to highlight whatever strengths you deem appropriate.
As you write, use a confident voice. Be confident in your skills, in your self, and in your ability to serve. Project that.

Let them know that you look forward to hearing from them. You can say that you'll contact their office in a few days, or a week, if you've not heard anything ... yet don't be pushy. Give them their hiring and review process time to proceed before you expect feedback.
"I look forward to hearing from you."

Invite them to contact you. Give the impression that you are willing to talk further and to answer questions.
"Feel free to call or email if you have any questions that I've not addressed."


Complete your Resumé

[as per last class discussion... make this version of your resumé thorough, even excessive in its detail. Write it as though the reader was thoroughly unfamiliar with the work you have done. Explain the services you rendered on each job. For the final version we'll cull it back to a resonable length. But, for now, include and explain every detail.]

Create a resume which, if requested, could introduce you to either (pick one of the following)...

a) a graduate school
Your academic background is important. Include all classes, workshops, seminars that you've attended. Consider including any personal study, research or creative projects that you've participated in. Consider, even, including tutorials that you've completed on your own --these could be tutorials guided by books or by online web sites. Basically, demonstrate that you are an avid self-learner as well as an "in-class" learner. Grad schools want students who are self-motivated to grow, explore and discover. Anything you have done that demonstrates your hunger to expand your skills, knowledge or experiences can be considered in your resumé.

b) an art gallery that will be hosting your work.
(the gallery needs information about your background so that they can prepare promotions/marketing for the exhibit. Also, the dealers need to be able to tell prospective buyers about you. This resumé will be their main source of information about you. Tell them about your background. You can include some less formal narratives about what you've done. Such "back story" accounts help a dealer introduce you to gallery visitors.)

c) a school with a job opening for an art teacher.
Be sure to include all of your academic work. Include any job experiences, especially those that involved any form of teaching or supervision of others. If you worked as a tutor in any context, include it. If you have offered any workshops or seminars, or have helped someone who was doing so, include it. Demonstrate that you have found ways to help others learn. That's a particular art in itself.


Check on Exhibit Timeline:

What needs to be done by this week? Your posters and invitations need significant lead time for design, layout, printing and mailing. (see notes for next class)

Are we on schedule?
What's the next big "due date" for the show? What needs to be done this coming week?


Crit Show

Week 6:

Sept. 28

—— Complete Final Resumé, as described above. Only now, instead of a thorough or excessively detailed resumé, edit it down to 2 pages max. with comfortable brevity. Design your resumé for the position (a,b,c above) you will be pursuing.

—— Complete Final Cover Letter

Invitations and Show Poster:

—— Create a rough version of your poster concept.
This can be a hodge-podge of collage-like pieces of paper, or it can be a pencil or charcoal sketch of your concept. We'll treat this as a draft of your poster. Once we know what you want, we'll step back and figure how to make it, and whether or not some features need to be changed.

a) It should be the same proportions/shape as your final poster.
b) it is ideal if it is the same size, but that is less critica..
c) it should include any and all text/copy that you intend to be on your poster. This is important.
d) any imagery or color that you are thinking about should be at least noted or described.


What information must be included?
Make sure your show poster answers these typical questions, below. Now, you may not have to address all of these matters, but be sure to think about each one and decide how you want to present yourself. Remember that your show's poster is a marketing tool -- a means of getting others to come, to see your work and ideally to buy your work. Motivate them. Inform them rather confusing them. Don't leave them guessing about anything.

What is it?
(its an art exhibit. Its a senior show. Its your personality in art. Its your Facebook page, but its on the gallery walls....)
How can you briefly orient the poster's reader to just what you are inviting them to?

Where is it?
What building?
(Art & Design Building. Stephens Art Gallery.)
What room or gallery?
(this is a bit optional as long as signs in the lobby are clear, but it can be helpful to mention the north gallery (the tall one) or the south gallery (the one-story gallery).
(if posters are hung off campus... "on the campus of Harding University. West of the Benson Auditorium." or similar)

When does the show open... and close?
What hours of the day is the gallery open?

If there is as reception, when is it?
Sometimes receptions are an "by invitation only" affair. But no usually.
Some folks particularly enjoy coming when you'll be there, when their friends might be there, and when food will be there. So tell them when that will be.

Does the exhibit have a special name or theme? What is it?
Some exhibitors like to brand their show with a particular title or theme. Its certainly not required, but its an option.

Who's work is exhibited?
The names of the exhibitors. (virtually required)
Include faces/images or other clues?
Include your major or home state or any other info?



—— Draft of your Invitations

These may need to be sketched out, or they may need to be roughed out on your word processor.
Similar to your Poster concept, above, you'll need to figure how what you will want to say — what information needs to be included?
Whatever your method or medium, get the concept of your invitation on paper.

? When do you want to mail your invitations?
? When do you need them back from the printer?
? When do you need to get your design to the printer?

That tells you when you have to have your invitation design ready.



Explore Printing Options for your Invitations/Posters

Use standardized invitations? ...similar to those used for graduations or even wedding announcements? Every print shop in town or online will have some standard options to pick from

Use a local print shop?
Explore options at Staples, at the Media Center, at Harding Press, at Quality Office Supply, at Carol's Printing or at the other print shops in town.
They will have samples and suggestions for size, format, and paper.
If you can bring examples of invitations that are similar to what you're looking for, that helps.
If you have PDF files of your invitation, they can usually print from that.
As with most such services, it is best to visit and talk with several service providers -- each will vary in their offerings, in their attentiveness to your needs, in their willingness to suggest alternatives, in price and in turnaround time.

Use an online print shop?
You have a lot of options today. If you can create a PDF of your invitation, you can likely get it printed quickly via an online print shop. However, quality and reliability varies.
My preferred large-scale photo-poster printer: 30"x60" @ $33 at professional photo quality. Fine Art archival prints (Elco Color)

Invitations can be printed at almost any print shop -- whether locally or online. I've not used the online print shops but they appear typical of the range of options offered in terms of design, sizes, price and turnaround time. They all allow you to pick a basic design and add your type/copy, or you can prepare the entire design on your computer and upload a PDF or image.
| 123Print | TinyPrints |

Use a color photocopier?
While this can go badly, it can also be done well.
a) explore the paper options. What interesting heavy stock do they have. (at least take a look at glossy card stock... its commonly available, cheap and tends to print fairly well.
b) Consider what you can do if you print color on one side and B/W on the other.
c) Consider ganging your invitations -- print two sets on an letter-size sheet, or 4 sets on a tabloid sheet.

Full color. The most expensive option, but often fine for short runs.
Two color.
One color. Can be carefully selected spot color on color paper.

Paper Stock:
Select good, weighty paper for your invitations... never, ever use the standard bond paper that most of our photocopiers use as standard paper.

PrePress Prep:
What do you need to do in order to prepare your concept for being printed?
The short answer is — it depends on your concept.
If you're not a graphic designer, what options do you have? To some extent, anything that can be photographed, can be printed -- consider setting up a still life, a gallery scene, or a collage.
Type can be added separate to the graphics.
Trade/barter or buy services from one of those Graphic Design folks that keep hanging around the lab.

Crit Show

Week 7:

Oct. 5

Invitations, Poster sent to printer?
(what's your deadline? what's needed yet? Any layout or digital prepress issues to solve?)

Invitation mailing list
(names and addresses);
Will you set up a mail-merge to print mailing labels/envelopes, or will you hand-write addresses?
Mail Merge Labels in MS Word | Excel Addresses and MS Word Label Printing Alt | Mailing Labels in MS Access

Artwork Preparations for Exhibit
What works do you have ready to frame?
What work is totally ready?
What works are yet to be completed? Have you given yourself deadlines on these? If so.

Gallery Resources
If you've not yet explored the bases, display cases, movable walls, etc that are on hand for use in your exhibit, take a short tour of the gallery storage area.

Week 8:

Oct. 12

Check your to-do list for your exhibit.

What works still need to be completed?
What works still need to be framed?

Crit Show

Week 9:

Oct. 19

Looking Ahead to your Portfolio:

What needs to be in a portfolio?
What layout or format might you use?
What information and textual content should be included?
How will images be added? If via photos, where will you get good quality images printed?

Practice shooting shots of 3 of your finished artworks.
Be careful of lighting, glare, explosure, color balance and other image issues.
Clean up your images in Photoshop, iPhoto (or other) and prepare high quality digital image files for your photos/prints.
Get large size (at least 8x10) prints of your images.
Explore how they compare with what you expected. (should you reshoot the images? should you re-edit the digital images? should you select different settings at the printer? should you choose a different printer?)

Week 10:

Oct. 26

Plan the best time to mail or distribute invitations to your show.
Usually you'll want the announcement/invitation to arrive within two weeks of the opening of a small, local exhibit.
People who might be coming from a greater distance should be informed a month or so before, though a later reminder would help.
For folks on campus, make sure they get their invitations early during the week prior to the opening/reception. 5-7 days in advance is good.
(warning: DO NOT send invitations to faculty late Friday afternoon before your Sunday reception. Most won't see the invitation until the following Monday.)
Be respectful of the schedules, prior commitments of others. Let them know far enough in advance that they can add it to their calendar or fit it into existing plans.

Week 11:

Nov. 2 -- Fall '17 - Brenna's exhibit opens Monday, Nov. 6

All hands on deck -- which means everyone is to set aside time to help set up, prepare for and open Brenna's show.
Discuss, coordinate times and tasks, commit... and do it.
Pay close attention to all of the tasks -- especially the last-minute details -- needed to get an exhibit mounted.
Your exhibit is next. The more you notice now, the more you'll be ready for then.

Discuss Portfolio Priorities & Options
While your artwork is in perfect exhibition condition, you'll shoot photos of it all. Good photos. Portfolio-quality images.
You may want to get hire a photographer, barter with a photographer friend, or you may want to prepare to shoot the images yourself. Whatever you choose, for this course, be sure to be present and be involved in the shooting. You need to know what's involved in getting good images.

What are the missing pieces in your exhibit?

Week 12:

Nov. 9

Final Prep for Exhibit:
Hang Exhibit: Gallery is anticipated to be open/empty by Wed. 9; but by Friday 11th at the latest.
Open on Sunday the 12th? Saturday the 11th?
Is your reception preparation and service crew ready to go? Any food need to be ordered, prepared or catered? Do you know what you have access to in the Art Gallery kitchen?
(? Reception? )

Week 13:

Nov. 16

Celebrate! Review & Crit the Exhibit
(? Reception? )
Photograph and document the Exhibit
Outline/Draft of Portfolio

Week 14:

Nov. 30 -- Fall '17 Group Exhibit opens Monday Dec. 4

Be sure set up times and tasks are clear -- and in writing.
Finalize plans for the gallery and for the reception.


Present your photos. Have jpg images on a CD (or other mass storage) so we can look at them in the MacLab.
Edit photos
Print photos for Portfolio

(Friday p.m./Sat. a.m.) Take down the show. Clean/Repair Gallery. Contact next exhibitor.

Week 15:

Dec. 7

Complete and Turn in Portfolio


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Greg Clayton
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