Environmental Field Courses

Art and Environment

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Art and Environment functions simultaneously as a studio and seminar course. The three course topics – Earth and Sky: The Micro and the Macro, Contemporary Environmental Issues: People and Place, and Sustainability: A Holistic Approach to Art Making – will provide the context for participants to gain knowledge from experts in various fields and apply that to their art making practices. Students will participate in a series of field trips with a botanist, an astronomer, a mountain top removal mining activist, water scientists, a landscape architect, and a family of organic farmers. In addition to the hands-on experience these field trips will provide, participants in the course will read and discuss a broad range of texts and will gain exposure to artists who work within the genre through a series of artist presentations – all of this giving the students a broad range of knowledge to create work for the studio portion of the course.


Coastal Maine

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Art and Environment: COASTAL MAINE is a four-week, indoor/outdoor field program for artists(undergraduate students, graduate students, and non-traditional students) offered through the West Virginia University, School of Art and Design with the generous support of the Robert M. MacNamara Foundation. The focus of the course will be to study and discuss the notion of place as it pertains to the unique microenvironment of Coastal Maine. We will do this by engaging water, natural resources and recreational adventure as means to explore the larger environmental and cultural issues that form and shape the area.


Jackson Hole Photography

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West Virginia University’s Jackson Hole Photography Workshop is a 10-day intensive field course that explores the diverse and remote region of northwestern Wyoming. The workshop partners with the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts in the heart of downtown Jackson, Wyoming as its home base. Daily excursions exploring this stunning region are complemented by darkroom and digital work sessions, critiques of work in progress, gallery visits, and evening presentations. The program is limited in size to insure a close working relationship with the faculty and a significant amount of one-on-one attention.


Chile – Space : Atacama

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Space: Atacama is a six credit, four week multimedia, adventure art course that will take students into the remote, northern desert region of Chile to investigate themes of perception, space, positioning, self-awareness, environmental appreciation, and other notions relating to phenomenology, consciousness and the landscape. Designed as an immersive experience, the program emphasizes direct engagement with a remote environment while bringing a host of multimedia tools and strategies to bear upon this investigation. It aims not only at the production of inspired artworks that exhibit refreshing takes on these time honored themes, but ultimately at the inspiration of students through a reawaking to the senses, and the discovery of new, technologically oriented forms of interpreting and relating such experiences.


Place:Appalachia

PLACE:APPALACHIA is an interdisciplinary two week, outdoor field program for artists. The focus of the course is to study and discuss the notion of place as it pertains to the Appalachian region of West Virginia. We will do this by engaging water, coal, agriculture and wilderness as a means to explore the larger environmental and cultural issues that define the area. Through exposure to sites and with the expertise presented by various guests, we will examine what it means to be influenced by a geography and explore how that influences our art work.