hello i am an arty
How hard are you willing to work? Art courses (actually, most courses at Bennington) tend to be as intense as you make them, especially with more labor-intensive stuff like ceramics or printmaking or animation. There probably isn’t much in terms of just one-off, no-work classes, but I guess you could slide through a drawing class, say, doing the bare minimum and maybe get a marginal pass, but what’s the point of that?
Some of the courses I’ve learned the most from have also been the most intense and, at times, frustrating, both in assignments and critiques. I’ve worked for hours on certain assignments just to get (helpfully) torn apart in class critiques. Usually, a few hours later (or a few weeks later if i got really mad!!) I’d realize just how much more helpful my getting torn apart was.
So yeah, as with any class here, if you’re willing to work and you’re open to critique, art classes can be immensely helpful. Or, if you’re just taking a course because you’re curious about, I dunno, how to silkscreen, you could have a good time and learn how to do the thing without it being the most intense course you’re taking that term.
No such thing here - even the thought of materials fees or studio fees are too funny to think about. This I believe goes for all areas of study within the Visual Arts. As a student who has been studying VA for two years now, I can tell you that I’ve paid for very little of what I need to make work here, at least in comparison to other schools that I’m familiar with. Often material is provided for. I’ve really only had to buy things such a paper, personal ceramics tools, film, etc. And when it comes to ceramics, there is no studio fee at all. Being able to use the studios here, without having taken intro courses is totally possible. First of all, it only takes a small conversation with one of ceramics faculty. I can’t imagine that they’d turn down a curious mind. And if you know your way in the world of ceramics, even better. Regardless, If you can crowd-source skills and info from friends here, seek out help from the ceramics tech and talk to faculty in order to become aware of what classes need (space, material, etc), you should be more than okay!
This term we (Kate Davis and Arden Jordan) both took Social Practices in Art with Robert Ransick. This class is about learning and analyzing the field of social practice in art and the current artists and projects involved in this community. The best (which is saying a lot because it was an AMAZING class) thing about the class was designing our own social practice projects and implementing them for our final.
Arden: My partner, Maddy Kostman, and I recorded the thoughts of leaders, residents and students that were interested in examining the relationship between Bennington College and the town of Bennington. We archived these conversations in digital form, allowing people to listen to others’ responses.
Working on this project was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Bennington. Maddy and I had to revise our project several times and made several mistakes along the way. In the end, recording the different members of the larger Bennington community was an amazing experience.
I learned so much doing this project and now view the relationship between the college and the town in a completely new way. Maddy and I hope to continue these conversations when we get back to campus in the spring.
You can listen to all the recordings on our Soundcloud.
Kate: My partner, Christina Cary, and I taught a cooking class to kids at Fiddlehead at Four Corners. Our goal was to get parents excited about cooking with local vegetables by making cooking fun for kids. Before the event, we had NO idea if any families would show up, but families kept arriving, and it was awesome. Kids were coloring in images of the four main vegetable/fruit ingredients of the Butternut Squash and Pear soup, then got to take on the responsibility of slicing ingredients (with a plastic knife), scooping out the inside of the squash, and peeling the root veggies. Here are some of the pictures of the event.
Before each child left, he or she asked his/her parent if they were going to make the soup when they got home. The response was better than we could have imagined, and it was a great chance to creatively address a concern we heard expressed in town (not cooking with fresh veggies or not knowing exactly how), using techniques we learned in class, and referencing artists we studied. Overall, it was a phenomenal class and I would strongly suggest reading up on Social Practices in Art (check out Darren O’Donnell’s Social Acupuncture)
Arden J. ‘16 and Kate D. ‘14
Contemplating all the work we’ve encountered here at Bennington - in and out of the classroom - we decided to compile some of the work that gave us pause.
Alan suggests Craftsmanship by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf articulates an enormous amount about the complexities of language (which is of particular interest to me), but rather than explaining solely through reason, she demonstrates by simply writing beautifully.
Carlos’s pick Slowness by Todd Williams and Billie Tsien
This photo is glorious, infuriating and thoroughly thought-provoking.
Sarah says Sergi Eisenstein’s Methods of Montage is a must read.
Eisenstein explains the effect of visual association on narrative. Its the most intuitive, human, process but hearing it articulated so clearly is earth shattering. Total inception.
Jeremy tells y’all to listen to Copland’s Piano Variations.
Just listen to it.
Jeremy would also suggest you all come visit Bennington, go to our library, and ask for Sarah Matusek’s devised theater piece Nome de Guerre.
She’s a brilliant theater artist that graduated Bennington College last year. Student work is alive and well here! :-)
Ananda suggests Gish Jen’s short story Birthmates
The story really exemplifies the concept of re-structuring short fiction in a way which centers the story on the character within the setting, not the setting surrounding the character. By delving into the human motivation of the main character, Jen conveys a story which is both resonant and compelling.
The Monday Afternoon Crew
A portfolio is not required, but if you’ve got one, why not send it in? We want to see the whole you, including all the exciting things you’ve been working on. It won’t hurt your chances, and if you don’t have one, don’t stress. DON’T STRESS OUT.
The visual arts program here is one of the best. We have a wood shop, a metal shop, a multi-use film darkroom, a digital photo lab, several painting studios, a computer/graphic arts program (3D printer!!!!!!!), a print shop, a ceramics studio (complete with a firing kiln), a drawing studio, an architecture studio, an animation studio, a sculpture studio, and a beautiful gallery space. In addition, as a visual arts student moves up through the years, (s)he will be eligible for a personal work space.
I have many visual-arts-oriented friends here who are so grateful that they chose Bennington over a typical conservatory school. The biggest pro of studying here rather than an art school is that the student is free (and required) to study a variety of different kinds of visual arts, AND non-visual-arts subjects - providing the student with a more holistic education, while still availing them to nearly all the visual arts resources they could ever need. In addition, we hire only teacher-practitioners - meaning all of our teachers are also active in their fields outside of Bennington. This makes it so that students can consult their teachers about what it really takes to be a successful, working artist in the “real world.”
Basically, we have all the all the resources you’d find at an art school, and a program that encourages students to utilize ALL OF THEM freely, while also supplementing with non-visual-arts classes if they please.
Come visit! We’d love to show you around.
Do all of you know about my dear friend Bronwyn Maloney’s beautiful art? http://bronwynmaloney.tumblr.com
Yep! Pretty much anything you have done that you find interesting. I wouldn’t even say it has to be ‘central’ to your life, if it’s something you were really proud of send it in.
Some people link to a music page (or send in a CD). Some submit art. Really proud of a paper that didn’t make it into your college application? Send it along! Did you make it into a local newspaper? We’d be happy to see it.
- Brandon L.