The Visual Studies concentration of the BA in Art degree offers a dynamic integration of theory and practice that prepares students to engage with art in the public sphere as well as prepare to become art teachers in K-12 schools.
This contemporary and multidisciplinary course of study empowers students to investigate interconnections between art, pedagogy, community engagement and social justice. This plan prepares students for careers in art education, arts administration, community arts, and socially-engaged practices. It prepares students for further study in fields including Art Education, Fine Art, Social Practice, Art Therapy, and Arts Leadership.
Courses in the major emphasize active learning, engaged curiosity, collaboration, and creative practice. Students gain valuable experience in the field by participating in internships in the local region, including several internships opportunities with Community-based Art and the Prison Arts Collective.
Students will evolve their identities as artists, educators, and leaders. Students will be able to think critically about and act on issues related to art production, art education, and social justice, including: diversity, equity, inclusivity, and access.
Students will be able to think critically about and grow understandings of relationships between theory, context, and practice in in art education, community-based art, arts leadership and activism.
Students will be able to investigate and interpret a diversity of forms and approaches in art, and will be able to apply understandings in the planning and creation of new art pedagogy, art practice, and community projects.
Students will be able to share, discuss, and reflect on their own and others’ art and ideas, and learn how to nurture their own and others’ development through reflective practices.
Students will be able to apply theoretical and ethical ideas about art, learning, and issues in society by creating and implementing school curricula, classroom techniques, service-learning and community arts projects.
Students will develop an understanding of the way that meaning and the process of meaning-making are embedded and embodied in context (social, cultural, historical).
Students will learn to respond with empathy and an asset-based mindset to the unique benefits, needs, and characteristics of a diversity of individuals and communities.
Students will be able to formulate their own ideas about ways that art, teaching, and social issues can interact through research, art making, and internships.
Community-based Art is an approach to teaching and learning art that directly engages community in the process. The Community-based Art (CBA) initiative at CSUSB is currently run by Professor Annika Anderson (Sociology) and Professor Julie Taylor (Communications Studies), and provides students and community members with opportunities for creative collaboration.
In CBA, students gain experience in the field by facilitating art experiences with people of all ages through fieldwork and service-learning courses. CBA also offers multiple internships and student assistant positions, offering Visual Studies students the chance to gain valuable experience in the field while completing their degree. CBA is supported by numerous internal University grants, in particular from the CSUSB Office of Community Engagement and the CSUSB Office of Student Research.
Prison Arts Collective
The Prison Arts Collective (PAC) grew out of the Community-based Art initiative and continues as a research project led by Professor Annika Anderson (Sociology) and Professor Julie Taylor (Communications Studies). The evolving project is dedicated to providing the transformative power of the arts to individuals that are incarcerated, supporting the development of community, confidence, communication, and other life skills, while empowering a marginalized population to find and express their voices. Numerous students and alumni from across the University and community participate in the PAC as volunteers, staff, and interns. The PAC is supported by external grants and contracts from the California Arts Council, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.