The Evergreen State College Wordmark

The Evergreen State College

About Visual Arts at Evergreen

The Visual and Environmental Arts (VEA) sub-area of Expressive Arts offers programs that explore:

  • drawing
  • painting
  • sculpture
  • fine metals
  • printmaking
  • fiber arts
  • photography
  • digital media
  • environmental arts
  • sustainable design
  • woodworking
  • metal working
  • mixed media
  • installation
  • performance

Evergreen's unique perspective on liberal arts education provides the context for our approach to visual art.

As visual art educators we emphasize the linkages between art making and cultural contexts. We offer interdisciplinary programs and thematic studio based programs. In both cases, our curriculum incorporates critical reading and writing, as well as hands-on instruction in a variety of formats and disciplines.  We believe that visual literacy is central to the process by which students become informed image-makers. We ask our students to apply the theoretical and critical concepts they are learning to a range of media practices, from solving design problems to the production of collaborative and independent projects.

Visual Art production is fundamentally interdisciplinary.

We want our students to be engaged with the world, with contemporary issues and ideas. We want them to be good listeners and problem-solvers. We encourage them to be attentive to the linkages between their work and the community and learn broadly about social and artistic movements. We actively work to provide curriculum that links art with other disciplines, and offer interdisciplinary programs combining the study of art with environmental studies, history, social psychology, political economy, media, literature, and community studies, among others.

Our programs focus on specific skills acquisition in painting, ceramics, fine metals, etc.

We think visual studies should include a relationship of content and research with a particular approach or material. While craft and knowledge of materials remain central to our curriculum, we also actively explore installation, digital imagery, and multimedia as practices that widen the possibilities for visual expression and connect the visual arts to other art forms. Teaching critical awareness of the politics of representation is central to our programs. This means that we explore the social implications of image-making, and especially the ways in which self and other, identity, community and world, are inscribed in the images we make and view.

Our programs emphasize collaboration and student engagement with their process of investigation.

We emphasize collaborative processes in which all students must learn to make decisions together and work collaboratively on projects. By the same token we do not see faculty members as the final arbiters of the merit or success of artworks. We strive to create a collective discourse with our students, in which criteria are developed collaboratively, drawing on experience, and on the texts we've viewed, read, and discussed. We want our students to be accountable to each other, because we believe that a well-developed sense of accountability will allow them to apply the critical skills and problem solving they have learned to a variety of settings both in art contexts and in the broader society.

We embrace a hands-on approach in the studio as well as the classroom.

student holding book art project

Evergreen has well-equipped shops and studios where students work across a range of mediums.  These include fully equipped wood and metal shops, ceramics studio and kiln room, fine metals studio, printmaking studio, photography, digital imaging and darkroom studio.  Teaching spaces include a life drawing studio, drawing and painting studios, a 3D studio and two media equipped critique rooms.  Students registered for visual arts programs often have dedicated studio space available to them 24 hours/day. 

The Evergreen Gallery is housed in the library and hosts several exhibitions over the course of the school year.  We have an artist lecture series that brings artists and discussions about contemporary concerns in the arts to the Evergreen campus. 

We promote and seek opportunities to engage our students in the larger community, collaborating with schools, organizations, governing bodies, and other institutions to learn, to teach and to create. At the same time, we encourage students to develop strong personal ideas and the skills and language to express them. We provide diverse cultural perspectives in our programs, with regular engagement with Asian, Latin American, Native American, Black and Latino artists and communities. We design programs that encourage students to put art and art making in the context of environmental stewardship and sustainability.