Convergence: A Collaborative Course Linking Public Art and Education among Artists, Art Educators, and Students

By Jan-Ru Wan.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the field of visual art education, it is very rare to have a course designed exclusively for a public art project. However, in this special topic course, students had their first-hand experiences from understanding public art, designing fundamental elements, and learning the skills to assemble the final work in a permanent setting. In early 2008, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS) at the North Carolina State University received the necessary funding to complete their brand new building on the campus. In addition, they received a collection of art from the SAS Inc. With a limited budget from the PAMS, there was insufficient funding to restore the artwork in the new building by the original artist. Driven by my passion for art education, I decided to take this opportunity further: instead of just re-producing the work with the direction of the original artist, I planned and conducted a course, in which the students, with assistance and guidance from many of my colleagues, would re-design, plan, create, and install the work at the end. There were many challenges throughout the process, such as diverse skills of the students, budgets, materials, and time constraints. At the same time, we were mindful of the requirements to integrate our teaching philosophy and maximize student learning. In this presentation, I will address these challenges, present our solutions, and discuss how these experiences impact students’ learning process and shape the course design.

Keywords: Design Course, Public Art, Education

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.131-152. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 5.306MB).

Prof. Jan-Ru Wan

Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Design, College of Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Currently new Assistant professor in NC State University, College of Design, Jan-Ru Wan was assistant professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C for four years. Jan-Ru Wan (‘96 MFA) is an artist-educator acquiring an international reputation in the fiber-arts field. In the 15 years period since receiving her MFA, she has participated in 19 solo exhibitions and 40 group exhibitions, and received award for three major artist residencies; both national and international. As an artist, Wan is exceptionally strong conceptually and is sensitive to the mixing of materials to maximize their ability to evoke emotion and response. She utilizes sculptural form, space, and site-specific formats to communicate about the human experience, the body, and the blending of Eastern and Western cultures. In 2006, she was recognized by the Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) award from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Most recent award for Wan is the recipient of 2008 North Carolina Visual Art Fellowship.


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