Students enrolled in a visual arts course at Sarah Lawrence College work in a new environment created to support the College’s unique arts pedagogy: a philosophy of teaching that not only encourages individual investigation into the nature of the creative process but also provides a setting to foster the exchange of ideas across artistic disciplines.
While courses are taught in the traditional seminar/conference format, the Monika A. and Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Visual Arts Center is specifically designed to break down barriers among visual arts media. It features ateliers that give each student an individual work area for the year, while its open classrooms and movable walls encourage students to see and experience the work of their peers in painting, sculpture, photography, filmmaking, printmaking, drawing, visual fundamentals, and digital imagery. Students may enhance their work in a chosen discipline by enrolling in a workshop—a mini-course—selected from 10 offerings annually. In some visual arts courses, a particular workshop will be required. This recently developed program expands students’ technical skills and enables them to utilize different media in the development of their work. Workshops are open to students of any visual arts medium, promoting even more interaction and understanding across disciplinary boundaries and furthering the College’s overall emphasis on interdisciplinary work
The Heimbold Center, a high-performance “green” building, embodies an environmentally friendly approach that features safe alternatives to toxic materials, special venting systems, and an abundance of natural light. In addition to well-equipped, open-space studios, individual ateliers, and digital technology in every studio and classroom, the building also includes space for welding, woodworking, clay and mold-making; a common darkroom, a digital imaging lab, and critique rooms; a sound studio, a screening room, and a large exhibition area. The Center’s doors open onto a mini-quad, allowing students from throughout the College both access to and inspiration from their peers’ works-in-progress.
The visual arts curriculum is reflected in—but not confined to—the Heimbold Center’s visual arts facilities. The building also houses courses in visual culture, increasing the integration of the creative arts and the humanities. The College’s proximity to New York City brings recognized artists to campus to lecture and also gives the students the opportunity to visit hundreds of galleries and some of the world’s major museums.
Faculty members are working artists who believe in the intrinsic value—for all students—of creative work in the visual arts, the inseparable connection of the creative arts and the liberal arts, and the necessity of art in life. All visual arts faculty and their students have access to technicians, based in the Heimbold Center, who can provide technical support in most areas.
In 2014-15, various workshops in the visual arts disciplines will be offered that serve to broaden students’ vocabulary and technical skills. In the past, workshops in Metalworking, Letterpress, Web Design, Drawing, Water Color, Woodworking, Artist Books, Final Cut, Sculpture Methods, and Photoshop have been offered.