Integrated Writing (IW) in Art Studio Practice

Writing is a valuable tool for communicating about the formal qualities, contexts, and concepts involved in the creation and reception of artworks. Writing is also a critical component of professional artistic practice, providing artists with a means to illuminate their intentions in a variety of situations. As such, developing the capacity to write clearly about art is an important part of undergraduate art education.

Many Art courses at Georgetown include writing exercises as a complement to the primary learning experience of making artwork. At the introductory (1000-) level, writing exercises often involve formal analysis. Through first-hand experience of works of art, students learn to articulate their observations in terms of specific formal characteristics. Such exercises also help students to understand and express the importance of context in the presentation and reception of artworks.

In advanced courses, students’ ability to describe their own work and their development as artists becomes increasingly important. Art majors and minors learn to write about their art in terms of subject, style, technique, and formal construction, as well as historical and contemporary context. As in other disciplines, writing about one’s work can help to clarify one’s ideas while also giving rise to new directions that can further artistic growth.

The Integrated Writing Requirement for Art majors is fulfilled by ARTS-4960, the Senior Project Seminar taken by all Art majors during the Fall semester of their senior year. This course prepares majors for the culmination of their creative work at Georgetown, the Spring semester Senior Exhibition. In the senior seminar, students draft, critique, and revise the written artist statements that will accompany their work in the Senior Exhibition.  

Students are also exposed to common situations in which the ability to write clearly about one’s work are essential. These include pursuing gallery representation, applying to graduate school, drafting grant applications, and an array of other situations that are common in professional artistic practice.