CCS Fine Arts Major Transitions to Art Practice

The College for Creative Studies (CCS) Fine Arts department has changed its name to Art Practice, effective Fall 2020 semester. The new name better reflects how the role of the artist in society has evolved and the many ways artistic practice has expanded beyond studio art and Western European fine art tradition. From the methods and materials they use to the lenses that define their work, today’s artists draw on various cultural contexts, identities, experiences and goals to create within a constellation of fields — as studio artists, curators, public artists, creative entrepreneurs and more.

“It goes back to the question of the role of the artist in society today,” said Art Practice Chair Valerie Jenkins. “Artists are not limited to isolating in a studio, exhibiting and selling work. They are also community organizers. They’re arts educators and arts writers. They’re entrepreneurs and arts consultants. They serve all of these roles that adjoin the idea of producing work. 

Art Practice students work within and between the areas Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Printmaking, Video/Digital media, Installation and Performance and are encouraged to engage disciplines in other CCS programs through electives. The result is a highly individualized course of study that can focus deeply on one or two areas or combine multiple art and design disciplines. The department provides some of the finest resources in the country, including the latest technologies in 3D modeling and printing, an expansive printmaking area, state of the art wood and metal shops, a digital print studio, and a fully functioning foundry.

“Our perspective is to look at arts practice from lots of different angles that are all relevant to each other and that can enrich each other. Getting a BFA in Art Practice and gaining knowledge of the history and theory related to contemporary art, and learning about tools and materials, is going to support a number of occupations in the world — including making work. We want students to think about how they can structure their lives in a much more holistic way and involve themselves as artists in the arts community in addition to being makers.”

Beginning in Fall semester, Art Practice will offer freshmen students a second semester of “Survey and Methods.” The department has re-instituted the thesis requirement, and in their junior year, students will produce a studio book, including archiving and research, and expand that work during “Senior Studio” to create their thesis projects. And, in keeping with the program’s objective to produce artists prepared to join the creative economy, the department will replace its previous business course with “Professional Practice for Artists,” a class that seeks to educate students about professional paths, skill building and sustaining their working lives as artists.

For more information on the Art Practice program at CCS, go here.