AR315 Special Topics in Art or Design

for UU 2013

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AR 315: Special Topic in Art or Design: The Mural Workshop


UU 2013 HO


Bachmann, Donna


Professor of Art, Program Coordinator of Fine Art, Director Campanella Gallery


M.F.A. University of Missouri-Columbia, M.A. University of Missouri-Kansas City, B.F.A. Kansas City Art Institute

Office Location

Alumni Hall, 4th floor, Room 31

Office Hours

In summer, by appointment

Daytime Phone

Office: 816-584-6457

Other Phone

Home: 913-384-4419, Cell: 913-522-8801


Web Page

Semester Dates

June 4 - July 26, 2013

Class Days


Class Time

9:00 - 11:45 AM


AR140: Drawing I and AR280: Painting I, or by permission of the professor

Credit Hours


No textbook is required for this course.

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Course Description:
Generic:  AR 315 Special Topics in Art or Design: A specialized workshop or seminar focused on a particular subject, issue or medium. May be repeated for credit when topics change. Variable 1-3 credits.

Specific: “The  Mural Workshop”  will systematically explore mural painting from historical, technical and aesthetic viewpoints with a special emphasis on how large scale paintings are visually integrated into architectural settings.  
This is the third time I have taught  this seminar-style studio course.  My goal is for us to produce one or two murals for the Park campus.


Educational Philosophy:

My educational philosophy  regarding the studio arts is based on the primacy of: 

l.  intensive studio practice--- art is labor intensive,

2.  the creative process of play, that is, the necessity of experimenting openly and  in unorthodox directions--which involves risk,

3.  craftsmanship,

4.    critical thinking—art as an intellectual endeavor. 


Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Course Learning Outcomes will vary depending on the special topic and will be specified in the special syllabus developed for each course. (“Drawing on the Renaissance” had C.L.O.s very different from “The Mural Workshop”.)

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Analyze architectural spaces for their potential as mural sites.
  2. Generate multiple design solutions for the interaction between large scale art and public places.
  3. Utilize cartoons and maquettes  in the design and commission process.
  4. Work communally and cooperatively with clients and a design team.
  5. Conduct research into appropriate primers, pigments, media and varnishes
  6. Work within the constraints of a budget and deadlines.
  7. Understand some of the basic issues and controversies surrounding public art versus private art.
  8. Critique murals to judge their aesthetics and the degree to which they successfully (or not) interact with their architectural sites.
  9. Work safely in public places (scaffolds, etc.).
  10. Address the challenges of installation, lighting, documentation and publicity in the actual integration of a mural in a public location.
  11. Demonstrate this new level of skill and understanding in the actual murals they have helped create this semester.
Core Assessment:

A research paper of approximately 6-10 pages, in which the student must
respond to a specific work of art in a museum or gallery setting.  This
paper will be 20% of the final grade.

Class Assessment:

Please disregard the "Core Assessment"  paper cited above.  

You will be graded on the quality of your work.  I will consider creativity (the originality of your ideas), quantity of work and ideas, and craftsmanship (neatness does count in all areas of design).

 Mural painting is, to a large degree, a communal process rather than a private one.  So your contribution to the group effort will be a big aspect of assessment. As the different mural projects develop we might decide to assign each student a special area of responsibility, but the emphasis will be on the team effort and individual accountability to the group.   



Late Submission of Course Materials:
Due to the tight deadlines and necessity of mutual accountability to the seminar,  late work cannot be permitted.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Studio Management:

I have reserved Alumni Hall's south studio (Room 35)  for this class to use as “home base”.  We can equip and organize this space however we like.  Here we can leave out our preliminary studies, maquettes, cartoons, floor plans, etc. 

Often we will be meeting elsewhere on campus at actual mural sites or on field trips or errands.  Sometimes we will be divided and I will be moving  between groups on campus. A high degree of responsibility and autonomy will be necessary.

As always in Alumni Hall the rule is:  CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF! 

Take special care of our antique plumbing.  Do not pour plaster, paint or glue down the sink.  Scrape this stuff into the trash.  This is a communal studio.  Please take care of the space and respect each others work areas and works in progress.

Studio Availability:  This studio is available to you 24 hours, 7 days per week.

Your name will be placed on the Art Dept.’s Security List for this building.  After hours call campus security to be admitted to Alumni Hall.  Be prepared to show your Park ID and to cooperate with campus security officers at all times.  

 Safety in the Studio.  All solvents and any other flammable materials are to be kept in the yellow fireproof cabinet.  If you bring any potentially dangerous substances into the studio, do so in the ORIGINAL CONTAINER,  show it to me and label it clearly with your name for safe storage in the yellow cabinet.  I must be sure accurate information is in our MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheets) notebook  which is outside my office door for you to consult.

 If you are working in the studio late at night, lock yourself in and call security

(the studio phone in the SW corner is for your use) to let them know you are here.

 Proper use of the power tools will be taught.  Only use power tools when a buddy is present.  Always wear goggles.

 Art Supplies:

Art supplies and equipment  should be funded by the clients, with some small contributions from stuff on hand in Alumni Hall and from the departmental budget. 

 The two main things which you will need  initially are your notebook/folder for your journal and a sketchbook and basic drawing tools (drawing in how artists think). 


Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Tentative Time-Line for the Mural Workshop:

INTRODUCTION:  Week One,  June 4, 5, 6, 7

_Campus tour of potential sites:

_Slide lecture/s surveying the history of murals from the paleolithic to the present.

_Field trips (probably two) to a number of murals in Kansas City including the Wexford mural which the first Mural               Workshop did in 2000.

_View video of the production of Eric Bransby’s fresco mural in the entry of the underground, The Spirit of Park       College which I helped produce in 1991.

MURAL SITES, TEAMS AND PRESENTATIONS:    Weeks 2 and 3,  June 11, 12, 13, 14 & 18, 19, 20, 21 

_Analysis of sites (measuring, light sources, surface character, traffic, vantage points, potential themes, etc.).

_Choosing teams and projects.

_Preliminary meetings with clients (their concerns, ideas, budgets).

_Research re wall preparation, equipment needed (scaffolding?), priming, medium, varnishing, etc.

_Consideration of the STYLE to be used to best express the THEME. Murals can be trompe l’oeil (fool the eye- realism), figurative, abstract, non-objective,  or, as with our Sol LeWitt installation, conceptual.  Styles are visual           languages.

_Developing palettes;  that is the appropriate range of colors.

_Production of Presentation Materials to serve as both a visual aide to the client  and as a reference for us.

_Setting up our actual working areas.

 MID-TERM WEEK:  Week four, June 25, 26, 27, 28

_Formal presentations to clients.  We might have more than one proposal for a given site.  The client would then choose.  The team would support and help execute whichever design is chosen.

_Client responses?  Approval?  Compromises?

_Budgets allocated.          

MURAL PRODUCTION: Weeks  five, six & seven,  July 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19.  (No class on July 4.)

Please note that this most critical phase is only 3 weeks, or just eleven regularly scheduled class sessions; thus outside time will be necessary.

_Paint and equipment is purchased, labeled, stored.

_Work sites are established (scaffolding, lighting, storage, etc.)

_Walls are primed.

_To-scale studies are gridded and the images are transferred to the walls, or full-scale cartoons are prepared.

_Paint is mixed according to the palette established.

_Underpainting, if necessary is done.

_Main paint film applied  from top down.

_Appropriate varnish applied.

_Documentation of the process kept and publicity sought.

_Additional lighting and labeling installed.

_Accounting of our monies/budgets.

_Clean up!

FINAL PHASE:   Week Eight, July 23, 24, 25, 26

_Presentation to client and campus and public.

_"Unveiling” ceremonies/ receptions?

_Our class self-evaluations and critiques of our work.

 Work outside of class: 

In most studio art classes the amount of time you find necessary to work outside of class will vary from project to project and will depend on how aggressively and effectively you use your studio “lab” time.  For most college studio classes, you should expect to spend a minimum of one extra studio session outside of class, that is, about three hours each week.  Plan this time now.

For this class  a great deal of outside class time work will probably be necessary, especially as we get into the actual painting process later in the semester. Coordinating our efforts and schedules will require organization. We will post a list of each others' schedules and phone numbers to communicate with one another and we will maintain a studio sign-in list to keep track of who has been here when, etc.


Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:



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Last Updated:12/17/2012 12:52:00 PM