Art Project Guidelines
Honors projects in the visual arts are professional presentations of original research or creative work. What distinguishes an honors project from most studio work is the ambition, size, and coherence of the body of work as well as the level of excellence that students are expected to achieve. All types of art honors projects require research beyond just studio work.
Because work in the visual arts tends to be time consuming and because honors projects require a lot of work, it is strongly recommended that students plan time for research. This could be accomplished by taking 401 in the spring and 402 in the fall and developing a beginning body of work in the intervening summer. Honors students could split 401 and 402 with a semester devoted to advanced level studio classes and therefore have a starting point for their 402 body of work. Most of the studio work needs to be produced in 402, but some can come from 401 or from work outside of class. Work created in studio classes cannot count as honors work but can be discussed in the honors papers and presentations.
It should be understood that working processes vary between artists; consequently, all suggestions about the size of a body of work or about the number of hours per week need to be seen as guidelines.
Note: All guidelines about the page length of papers do not include bibliographies and other attachments. All papers should follow the latest edition of the MLA Handbook unless the advisor chooses a different style manual.
General Types of Studies Suitable for Honors Projects
1. Independent studio work: This option is a continuation of independent work developed in previous studio classes. The work should meet the level of quality appropriate for a thesis exhibition or for an application to graduate school, and it should be displayed in the student's senior exhibition (this work should be bulk of the exhibition). The work should be a reflection of a diligent and honest exploration and experimentation leading to the development of a unique body of work and an understanding of a personal sense of aesthetic. The amount of work should be equal to a group of work made from a 3-credit studio class, reflecting at least 12 hours of work per week. An example of an appropriate amount of work would be five large scale (4'x4' or bigger) paintings (of which 3 or 4 are deemed worthy of exhibition) with at least 8 small-to-medium size studies (some of the studies may be exhibited too). All finished work should be ready to hang and meet gallery standards of presentation.
Research Paper: Although the studio work is the primary research, the studio honors student is required to support the work with a 5-7-page paper. The paper should be an extended artist statement in which the artist discusses her own work and the art historical lineage for the work. The student should try to place her work within a tradition of art beginning with the early 20th century and continuing to the present, discussing artists in detail and analyzing particular works (the student may discuss artists of earlier periods if doing so is particularly relevant). She should also discuss at least two contemporary artists who share interests with her work as well as analyze one her own works.
Proposal: The proposal for 401 should include a 3-page paper with 2 works of art as supporting material.
2. Art history-based research and studio work: This option is a research paper on a specific art history topic with a small body of studio work that reflects and supports that research. The research paper needs to be 12-17 pages, must use primary as well as secondary sources, and requires original analysis and interpretation of works of art.
Research Paper: The research paper cannot be only a discussion of scholarship; it needs to have an original thesis. The studio work should be equivalent to working at least 3 hours a week for a semester. It should strongly reflect the research, but it must also be a successful body of work separate from the research. An example of an appropriate amount of studio work would be 3 finished works and 5 studies. This studio work can be exhibited in the senior exhibition.
Proposal: 3-5-page paper (supporting artwork is optional).
3. Commercial design research work: This is an exploration of a particular topic in the fields of graphic design or interior design. The project should include a paper which discusses the research and a body of design work.
Research paper: The paper should be 7-12 pages, should use primary sources, and requires original analysis and interpretation of works from various designers. The student should also analyze her own design work. The body of design work should be the equivalent of 9 hours a week for a semester. An appropriate amount of work would be a graphic design campaign that included two poster designs, a full- page color print ad, three black and white half-page ads, and a brochure mailer. It is expected that some of this design work would be exhibited in the student's senior exhibition.
Proposal: 3-page paper with 2 design works.
Although proposals will vary greatly, the following serves as a guideline:
1. Introduction: Describe briefly and generally what you propose to do and its significance.
2. Review of Past Work: Discuss the previous research and creative work that is the foundation for your new body of work.
3. Review of Scholarship: Discuss generally the scholarship that relates to your project.
4. Review of Research: Discuss the research or creative work that you have already begun or completed for this project.
5. Plan of Research: Discuss what research you will complete by the end of the project
6. Plan of Studio Production: Explain how you plan to accomplish what you propose to do.
7. List of Works Cited: On a separate page list the works actually cited in the proposal. Make sure that the form used for each item listed is correct according to the MLA Handbook and that the information given in each item is accurate.
8. Bibliography: On a separate page list any works you have read or plan to read on the subject of your paper, excluding those cited in the proposal itself. Check each item listed for accuracy and correctness of form.
9. Appendix: Illustrative or supporting documents may be included in an appendix.