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Visual Arts and Health


Visual Arts Health Poster

Class Content Info:

– This is a combined studio/seminar class focused on visual arts and mental health.

– In this class, students will be introduced to concepts related to cognitive and psychological elements involved in engagement with visual arts, with a recurrent subtheme of relationships and empathy. We will cover the idea of art making and viewing as (potentially) empathetic experiences involving relationships. These relationships include the artist’s relationship with the artwork, the viewer’s relationship with the art, and the viewer/artist relationship.

– In this class, we will produce 2D and 3D artwork with a variety of materials. We will review cognitive and psychological themes involved in the process of creating, such as the flux between order and chaos, gestalt, goal attainment, conflict resolution, problem solving, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. We will also cover theories about use of art as coping and art as confrontation.

– Students will be introduced to concepts related to art as a mindfulness tool for the artist and the viewer, and will look at the somatic, visceral experience of engaging with art.

Registration Info:

Course Catalogue #: FA 3801 Special Topics in the Fine Arts

Class #: 17830, Sec 001: Visual Arts & Health

3 credits: Elective credits. This class does not cover Fine Arts Gen Ed requirements. It counts for elective credit, unless otherwise approved by department chairs/area heads as substitution for curriculum requirements. I would be happy to write a letter or share the syllabus with department chairs/area heads if needed for consideration of substitution for requirements.

Prerequisites/Visual Arts experience: None. I’ve formatted the class to be open to those with and without fine art experience. There will be demonstrations, assistance in the technical elements of creating objects, and level appropriate artwork critique related to theory being covered. The focus is primarily on psych theory and the process of creating/engaging with visual art (including anxiety felt & distress tolerance when one is doing something new, i.e. art without experience)

Date/Time: T/Th 3:40-6:40

Building/Room: ART/Sculpt 187

Instructor: Kate Wingard, MFA candidate, department of Art & Art History, ceramics focus. Kate is also a licensed mental health counselor and registered art therapist here in the U of U hospital system.