Writing is an important component of expressing your understandings within the Art Program. When you enter the Art Program, we expect that you will already be able to articulate your ideas critically, coherently articulate a specific point of view, and comprehend content and meanings. We also expect that you will be able to demonstrate some facility with written language, grammar, and spelling; develop complete and cohesive thoughts in written form, develop convincing arguments supported by adequate references, and have basic knowledge of MLA and APA formats. You will also be successful if you have the following kinds of knowledge: research methods, summarizing, revising and proofreading, writing to convey ideas, and techniques for making a written argument or critical analysis. Finally, we hope that you understand the specificities of different types of writings: formal and informal (such as notes, emails, texting, etc.) as well as what constitutes original ideas.

By the end of your studies, you will have further developed your writing skills within the discipline of art. Upon graduating from our program, we expect that you will be able to articulate your ideas clearly and thoughtfully. We expect that you will have gained the ability to do the following:

  • Write effective research papers and essays, personal statements, and professional letters and résumés.
  • Write an articulate description of your work.
  • Write and employ creative language in the context of diverse projects.
  • Articulate coherent and convincing arguments about art-related issues.
  • Compare your work to contemporary and historical examples.
  • Develop and express original ideas and points of view.
  • Identify the essential elements of an artist’s statement.

Additionally, we expect that you will have the ability to do the following with regard to research in the field of art:

  • Conduct thorough research, develop new ideas, and present original interpretations.
  • Critically analyze and engage both historical and contemporary visual works of art and design.
  • Develop new interpretations using critical analysis and newest research findings.
  • Effectively utilize proofreading, editing, and revising.
  • Formulate personal opinions supported by individual views and meticulous research for art, design media, and art history projects.
  • Support your ideas and arguments with references from adequate sources.
  • Think and analyze art, design, and art historical issues from a critical and personal perspective.
  • Translate detailed research information into your analysis.
  • Use writing to think critically, contextualize, and ask and provide answers to “big picture” questions. 

Types of Writing Assignments

As a student in the Art Program, you will find the following kinds of writing are expected:

  • Research papers, essays, critical reviews and reports.
  • Creative writings with art and art historical information.
  • Informal in–class and homework writing assignments.
  • Personal reflections and statements.
  • Writing specific to digital media.
  • Business writing in the arts.

Descriptions of some of these genres are listed below:

Art Criticism/Art Reviews: critical writings that combine personal opinions with research and critically reflect on specific works of art, exhibitions, etc.

Art Market Articles: reports, evaluations, and critical analysis/reflections about issues related to this topic.

Artist’s Statement/Bio statement: writings that include reflections on creative sources, methods of making art, etc.

Creative Writing: used as a method for engaging students to look at and think about one or more works of art for a sustained period of time.

Critique of exhibitions.

Focused free writing (in class).

In-class writing assignments: responses to works of art, which include criticism, aesthetics, and art history.

Journals: formal and informal writings that include reflections about art, creative processes, etc. They often intertwine visual and textual elements.

Lesson Plans.

Museum/gallery reports: reflections about specific field trips.

Proposals for real and fictional art and art history projects.

Reaction/response papers to specific art events/exhibitions.

Reading reports: reflections and analysis of readings assigned in the course.

Research papers

“Technical writing”: developing business letters, résumés, etc. 

Writing assignments related to Color Systems.

Writings specific to digital media: blogs, wikis, podcasts, web.

Written Self-Evaluations: In certain courses students are asked to evaluate their own work and that of their peers in written form.

Advice on Writing in Art:

Research and Resources: You should conduct in-depth research and be able to identify and use valid art and art historical resources.

Critical Analysis: You should be able to demonstrate in writing critical analytical skills. This includes written investigations of scholarly works, professional projects, and peer projects, as well as self-reflections on personal work produced in various courses.

Creative and Interpretative Approaches: You should be able to use the information acquired in classes to develop creative views and personal interpretations based on visual and textual information. This includes innovative art historical and critical perspectives, descriptions used for hypothetical commercial settings, novel marketing language, and fictional product development.

Personal Résumé/Bio Development: You should be prepared to articulate details of specific interests in the creative field in the form of written statements, which include biographical information and personal philosophies.

New Media Writing: You should be familiar with the form and content specific to new media narratives/texts.

In addition, all students enrolled in art and art history courses are expected to:

  1. Be familiar with the specific research tools and methods utilized in art writing/art history and be able to use them appropriately in their own papers and presentations.
  2. Produce comprehensive visual presentations about the projects/research papers, which include well-written and researched textual information/documentation.

Faculty review most of the writings assigned, but some formats/genres include peer review and self-evaluations. Some projects/assignments are reviewed by both faculty and students. Writing projects include individual papers and group projects. The papers/writings are submitted in hard copy and/or electronic format. Some projects combine text and images. Different types/formats of writings may be assigned in the same class. Most formal papers require class presentations.

To be better prepared for the writing assignments in the Art Program, plan to:

  • Allow sufficient time to read and revise the paper before submitting it. 
  • Ask faculty, the writing center, and colleagues to read papers and provide feedback.
  • Be informed about appropriate sources and research methods, and where/how to find them.
  • Consult faculty and peers in the program and other majors.
  • Consult guides and books specifically developed for writing in the arts.
  • Consult the library for resources and guidelines related to how to research, prepare the information, and write successful papers.
  • Read art/art historical texts including: books, articles, essays, reviews, art-related news stories, and critiques of current work in all areas of the visual arts, with special attention to the language and methods of articulating concepts.
  • Read texts written by artists (including books, statements, blogs, etc.)

Plan to ask professors for help, including the following:

  • Discuss and explain acceptable resources, formats, and the specificity of art/art historical writing.
  • Discuss and explain how to write effectively and convincingly about art.
  • Discuss/explain basic research methods.
  • Provide handouts about how to analyze, interpret and evaluate art.
  • Provide help-guides.
  • Provide lists of resources for art writings.
  • Provide samples of writing assignments done by previous students.

Expected format:

  • MLA, APA, including format and information/captions for illustrations/use of images, copyrights, etc. Resources/information about these formats can be found online (national art and art history organizations such as CAA, graphic arts and new media associations, major museums, and art, design, and art historical institutions and libraries).
  • Formats for new media (blogs, websites, etc.).
  • Power-point presentations.