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Global Positioning Studies

Global Positioning Studies  is an interdisciplinary visual art and design initiative that positions students at the crossroads between a local sense of place and a global understanding of that place in the world. Through direct experience, Global Positioning Studies (GPS) courses encourage students to engage the world as a fertile ground for art making and critical research. Students are recommended to take at least one GPS course during the course of their studies.


Scholarships are available to help fund full-time outstanding School of Art & Design students to take a GPS course. Funding preference is given to those planning to attend off-campus courses with greater travel expenses.


Apply now for a GPS Course Scholarship 

Courses

Art and Environment Art & Environment

"Art and Environment" is designed to increase awareness for the interactivity of studio artists and the environment. We will be examining the natural world as media, catalyst and content. Students will meet once a week as a group to address the seminar and field component of the course. The other scheduled class sessions will be dedicated to studio work. The course will include readings, presentations, field trips and art making with accompanying critiques. This course is open to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students. 


Windjammer Art & Environment: Coastal Maine

"Art and Environment: Coastal Maine" is a four-week, indoor/outdoor field course for artists. 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. This is done by engaging water, natural resources and recreational adventure as means to explore the larger environmental and cultural issues that form and shape the area. This course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. This course is offered with the generous support of the Robert M. MacNamara Foundation.


Spam at Beach Art & Environment: Hawaii


"Art & Environment: Hawaii" is a semester-long, outdoor field course. Study and discuss the notion of place as it pertains to the to the unique microenvironment of the Hawaiian Islands. This is done by engaging water, natural resources and recreational adventure as means to explore the larger environmental and cultural issues that form and shape the area. Through exposure to sites on location in Hawaii and with the expertise presented by various guests, we will examine what it means to be influenced by geography and explore how that influences our artwork. This course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. 


19th Century Painting and Photography in France

This spring-break study abroad art history course examines a variety of geographical locations and types of landscapes, artistic schools and a wide selection of artists, through the media of painting and photography. The course will provide students an in-depth understanding of how place was foundational in the transformation of landscape art during the nineteenth century in Paris, its suburbs, and the nearby countryside where artist colonies and communities flourished.


Ceramics in China

The WVU Ceramics area offers comprehensive summer and fall semester study-abroad programs in Jingdezhen, China. Participants explore the historic connections of western ceramics to its roots in China and the preservation of ancient process and techniques and have the opportunity to study with some of China’s most prominent teachers and ceramic artists. Learn more about the Ceramics in China program .


Colosseum, Rome, Italy, 2012 Disegno Italia


"Disegno Italia", a four-week summer course, provides students with the opportunity to earn six credit hours in Italian art, design and culture beginning at il Sillabo in San Giovanni Valdarno, located twenty minutes outside of Florence in the Tuscan countryside, and concludes in Milan at the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) where students absorb the professional design culture of contemporary Italy.  Learn more at the  Disegno Italia website.


The Architect Frank Lloyd Wright

"The Architect Frank Lloyd Wright" course provides an opportunity to look closely at Wright’s life and work and place it in the context of developments in modern architecture. His iconic structures — from the early Prairie Houses, to Fallingwater, to the Guggenheim Museum — can only be understood in relation to their response to place. Students will pursue a semester-long research project taking advantage of the easy proximity of Wright’s masterwork, the Kaufmann House (Fallingwater), and his late Usonian design, the Hagan House (Kentuck Knob). The direct experience with these specific buildings allows students to come to terms with Wright’s theory of organic architecture that has been so influential on today’s green designers.


Jackson Hole Jackson Hole Photography Workshop


WVU Photography'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 course is limited in size to insure a close working relationship with the faculty and a significant amount of one-on-one attention. Learn more at the Jackson Hole Photography Workshop website .


Reims interior westMedieval Stained Glass in France


"Medieval Painted Stained Glass in France", a spring-break research course, travels to France to study examples of architectural stained glass windows circa 1140-1400. To participate in this trip to Paris and regional churches to see stained glass in situ and in museums and studios, students must have completed a Medieval Art period survey course. Students will take part in two pre-spring break and two post-spring break discussion meetings, participate in all activities and engage in photography and writing on a daily basis during the eight days in France, then present their photos, observations, and analyses to the class.


Space AtacamaSpace: Atacama


"Space: Atacama" is a six-credit adventure, multimedia art course that takes students into the remote desert region of northern Chile to investigate themes of perception, space, art and the environment. We explore these subjects through daily expeditions launched from the class base – a small cabin at the foot of the Andes Mountains, just outside the small desert town of San Pedro de Atacama. Traveling by foot, bicycle, and 4×4, equipped with camcorders, laptops, digital cameras, and GPS units, students venture out in teams into this fascinating and breathtaking landscape, recording and documenting their experiences. This course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.


SpacePlaceSpace/Place: Mapping and Art


Maps are ubiquitous, apparently benign objects or digitally generated data we often take for granted, but it is precisely because they permeate society and appear so “real” and “natural” that they hold such authority and power. Maps, or geographical images, are process and product, concept and artifact, abstract and material, poetics and politics. Historically under the concept of geography, maps and mapping techniques are currently at the nexus of interdisciplinary study, including art and art history. Students in this course will investigate the complex relationships between space and place, studying key-thinkers, theories and approaches that consider a map's production, lived spatial practices and mobilities, contestation and overlapping meaning, and how these relate to maps and mapping. We will examine types and uses of maps and their histories, construction and digital technologies as they intersect with mapping practices, engage in critical map reading, and consider how they inform art-making.


Painting in NYC 1Painting and NYC: Exploring the Urban Environment


The painting scene in NYC is experiencing an influx of artists who are responding directly to the urban environment and making international waves. Painters are creating 2D painting, street art, painting-driven installation, and site-specific, in-situ painting connected to and influenced by NYC’s multifaceted environment. 

This course surveys a cross section of the NYC and Burrows’ painting scene, allowing students to experience, discuss, and practice current trends in painting taking place and directly connected to ‘the art centre of the world’.


Painting in China
Painting in China


The six-credit "Painting in China" summer course is designed for students to study traditional Chinese landscape painting. Students will be directed in discovering personal connections with traditional Chinese art and establishing relationships to their own art-making practices by engaging in a working relationship with the artists and craftsmen from Nanjing and surrounding areas. Studio time is designed to allow students an opportunity to incorporate Chinese painting techniques, materials, and concepts into their own artistic expressions - allowing the students to express their feelings or intellectual concepts as directly as possible.