Core Curriculum

Perspectives in the Creative Arts


 Six years ago, at the Center for Faith and Vocation Workshop, Dr. Deb Skinner and Gautam Rao discovered they had "mutual interest in each other's disciplines," Skinner recounts, "and vowed to find a way to explore the relationship between marketing and art."  The result is Aesthetics and Design, a course built on the premise that art is everywhere but few people acknowledge it in the form of everyday practical objects. "From an academic perspective, it's very satisfying to hear students report that they never realized the role that art/design/aesthetics play in the development of products and communications," Skinner explains.  The course "pushes them to see the world a little differently, whether it's the wonder of the IMA just down the street or the hidden talent they have for creating art."

Susan McGuire would agree about the importance of pushing students to think differently about their world.  In Latin Dance, African Roots, students are introduced to the national dances of Cuba, Brazil, Argentina and Peru through dance workshops taught by professionals from the Indianapolis community.  Along the way, students discover the influence of indigenous cultures, colonization, and the Atlantic slave trade on the development of dances such as Samba, Rumba, Tango, and Capoeira. "These dances carry great meaning in their respective cultures," McGuire offers, "fostering a sense of community and identity.  These people 'dance with belief'."  Exposure to international dance is vital, McGuire believes, "as students graduate into an increasingly global society, any encounter that they have with people from other cultures beforehand is immensely valuable."'   

Course Structure

A menu of three-hour courses to be taken from the first year onward.

Learning Objectives

  • To develop cognitive and affective appreciation for the process and products of artistic creation.
  • To participate actively in the creation of an artistic product.
  • To reflect on the nature and sources of aesthetic value.
  • To develop habits of participation in artistic and cultural events that will lead to lifelong engagement within the creative arts.

Some examples of courses currently offered in Perspectives in the Creative Arts include:

Introduction to Visual Art
Introduction to Visual Art. This course combines the study of visual art (art history, art criticism and aesthetics) with studio art experience (the elements of art and the principles of design put into practice). A wide variety of media are considered, including those sometimes termed 'popular culture' -- film, television, advertising art and web design -- in addition to more traditional forms such as painting and sculpture. Students develop a critical awareness of art and develop a vocabulary with which to describe their own and others' work.

Latin Dances, African Roots
Latin Dances, African Roots. An introduction to and overview of the national dances of Cuba, Brazil, Argentina and Peru. We will study the influence of indigenous cultures, colonization, and the Atlantic slave trade on the development of dances such as Samba, Rumba, Tango, Capoeira, and popular dance and culture, as well as examining current practice in light of the political and social changes that have occurred in these countries since 1900. We will approach the course subject using films, texts, and, of course, by dancing. We will gain first hand knowledge of, and appreciation for, dance in these cultures and how it relates to an appreciation of dance in our culture.

Seeing the World & the Self
When you look out the window do you see a tree or the rhythmic sway of dark line and bright color? Do you see a field of grass or waves of innumerable greens? This course will encourage you to see the world through the eyes of an artist by focusing on the natural world. To achieve this we will examine a variety of formats including poetry, the personal essay, painting, and photography in relation to key aesthetic concepts such as the sublime, the beautiful, and the picturesque. We will juxtapose contemporary writers and artists with those from earlier periods to demonstrate how the way we see the world is culturally determined. We will complement our readings with trips to nearby museums (IMA), galleries, and the studios of local artists. In addition, we will take advantage of such local natural resources as the grounds of the IMA, the canal walk, and Holcomb Gardens, where you will find the raw material for your own reflection and creative expression.

Music in Action
Music in Action. The arts are a fundamental expression of the human condition and as such, a key element in developing an understanding of cultures. This course provides both an historical overview of music and its development within Western civilization as well as an exploration of what gives music its meaning and emotional charge. Students will examine and discuss music from a variety of historical periods; attend live performances; participate in written exercises and class activities relating music to the socio-cultural environment in which it was created; investigate the lives and ideas of leading composers and artists; and engage in creative projects.

Aesthetics and Design
Art is everywhere but few people acknowledge it in the form of everyday practical objects. This course will study the fundamental elements of art and the principles of design and their interaction to create both artwork and products of use. Students should expect hands-on experiences in creating artwork and product prototypes to demonstrate content learning. There is a secondary focus on developing a skill set in reflection, self awareness, empathy, creativity and critiquing.