Individually Designed Major: Art, Communication, and Society

Minor: Arts Management with an emphasis in Nonprofit Arts

Why an Individually Designed Major?:

            I propose an individually designed major integrating the subjects of art, communication, and society. This major would facilitate a breadth of understanding and learning in separate fields with meaningful connections and relationships intertwined. Ideally, this would construct an education path to prepare me for a successful career at an arts magazine, gallery, museum, non-profit organization, or any similar creative industry.

These three areas of concentration combined (art, communication, and society) apply to my goals more effectively than any specific major UW- Whitewater has to offer. If my proposal is approved, I can combine the skills and ideologies explored to fashion myself as a well-rounded, desirable candidate for future employment in a creative field. I can easily envision a future career working for an arts magazine, doing development at a museum or gallery, or doing marketing and media relations for a visual artist. It would be ideal to collaborate with creative individuals to plan events, promote art advocacy and educational programs, and manage engaging installations. I am open-minded about the specifics of my future career, but this proposed IDM and the acquired skills therein will prepare me in the right direction.  

            I am currently an Arts Management minor with an emphasis in Nonprofit Arts Management. With this minor, I will become familiar with the business operations of an arts organization including marketing, fundraising, budgeting, public relations, event planning, grant writing, and other day-to-day functions of an arts organization. While Arts Management emphasizes the strategic planning and management aspects of an arts organization, my major would incorporate concepts involving the cultural, social, and political contexts of art, as well as how to effectively communicate these concepts. The integration of these disciplines will ultimately attribute to advanced critical thinking skills, an awareness and engagement with social issues, and a mastery of technical writing and communication skills. My minor will teach me “how to do” while my major will teach me “how to think”.

            I am aware that proposing an individually designed major while having senior status is not ideal to the Committee, but I am confident this is the most effective way to make the most of my education. I came to UW- Whitewater late in my academic career as a transfer student, but upon reflection, this major is the most fitting for my interests and would be the most rewarding in terms of applying these interests to my schooling. I am excited about the prospect of working with my advisor and the UW-Whitewater faculty to embark on this next chapter. The plan I have devised will prepare me to effectively explore cultural/societal relationships, provide support for artists and facilities that support the arts, and provide a chance to advocate for and be involved with my passion. This IDM could jumpstart a (hopefully) long, professional interaction within the creative industries.


Important Courses Completed:

Arts 1001: Introduction to Contemporary Art and Theory - Introductory overview of contemporary artistic practices/theoretical foundations. Familiarization with contemporary critical/creative practices. Approaches to contemporary art through lens of cultural diversity/social justice. 

Art History 3012: 19th and 20th Century Art - Major monuments/issues of modern period. Sculpture, architecture, painting, prints. Neo-classicism, romanticism, realism, impressionism, evolution of modernism, symbolism, fauvism, cubism, dadaism, surrealism, abstract expressionism, pop art, conceptualism, postmodernism.

Art History 3401: Art Now - Analysis of visual representations in fine arts and popular media, in context of social issues. Obscenity, censorship, democracy, technology, commerce, the museum, propaganda, social role of artist. Understanding the contemporary world through analysis of dominant aesthetic values. 

Art History 319: Contemporary Art - This course is designed to allow for a thematic approach to the development of contemporary art. Course materials will explore art, artists, critics, histories, institutions, and theories related to modern and contemporary art.

Course objectives:

  1. Introduces students to the artists, themes, theories, criticism, and artwork related to modern and contemporary art.
  2. Develop the ability to analyze a work of art both formally, contextually, and theoretically.
  3. Practice developing written and verbal responses to art and theoretical material.
  4. Learn how to do primary and secondary research in art history and contemporary art.
  5. Develop critical thinking skills through the analysis of art, artists, art institutions, and art and art history writing. The cultural context of modern and contemporary art will be emphasized.
  6. Build a foundation for future participation in and understanding of art, visual culture, galleries, and museums.

Art 187: Survey of Modern Art - Painting, sculpture, printmaking, and drawing of the modern era.

Art 216: Digital Imaging and Design - Introduction to the basic skills and vocabulary of digital technology, with an exploration of popular graphics software and hardware. Integration of digital imagery with more traditional media. Areas of study geared towards specific student interests, with an emphasis on the development of a portfolio for transfer. 

Arts and Communication Interdepartmental 200: Arts Management Practicum - Participation in one or more areas of arts management including ticket office, house control, printing, publicity, and public relations. Event: Planning the School of Arts and Communication Scholarship Event

Arts and Communication Interdepartmental 362: Non-profit Arts Management - A study of the duties and required skills of managers of various non-profit arts organizations. Areas of study will include structure of arts organizations, planning, programming, staffing, budgeting and marketing, with emphasis on fundraising, board development, and volunteer management. 

Arts and Communication Interdepartmental 363: Applied Studies in Arts Marketing - A study of the duties and skills of marketing managers of both commercial and non-profit arts-related businesses, as well as the individual artist in the marketplace. Topics include marketing research, planning a marketing budget, promotions, media relations, advertising, corporate and media sponsorship, and audience development. 

American Studies 3252: American Popular Culture and Politics - Historical analysis of how popular arts represent issues of gender, race, consumerism, and citizenship. How popular artists define boundaries of citizenship and public life: inclusions/exclusions in polity and national identity. How popular arts reinforce/alter political ideologies. 

Communication 131: Introduction to Mass Communication - A study of mass communication with relation to current economic, political, and social institutions and trends. Emphasis on print and broadcast media with consideration of advertising, public relations, government, and technology. The role of media in entertainment, news, and persuasion is examined. 

English 102: Critical Writing, Reading, and Research - A composition course focusing on researched academic writing that presents information, ideas, and arguments. Emphasis will be on the writing process, critical thinking, and critical reading.  

English 332: Writing for the Web - Writing for the Web is designed to survey the many forms of online writing, focusing on community contributions, blogs, Web pages, Wikis, and writing for the Web in the students' particular academic disciplines. Students will examine each of these forms' conventions, create and contribute to such texts, and reflect upon the cultural significance of those forms.

Learning Objectives:

1. Write and design digital content using different web technologies, media, and genres to increase their adaptability as writers in a changing communication landscape.

2. Creatively adopt content, style, and design strategies of other successful digital writers for different deliverables in order to learn their craft from successful models while conventions and technologies evolve.

3. Recognize and ethically respond to the impact of digital media on people and cultures through reflection, analysis, and deliberate writing practices to become more ethical digital communicators themselves.

4. Apply principles of visual design, interactivity, and multimedia composition in their digital writing to develop more effective online messages that engage users.

5. Implement basic web programming in HTML & CSS as evidence of understanding how coding language provides structure, function, and constraints for digital writing.

6. Attend to user experience and employ basic principles of usability by conducting user testing as part of their development process to become more reader-oriented professional writers.

Journalism 3745: Mass Media and Popular Culture - Mass media's role in formation of popular culture/cultural discourse. Prevalent media metaphors, caricatures, stereotypes. Social/commercial pressures influencing media representation.

Liberal Studies 201: Introduction to Liberal Studies - An introduction to the concept of a liberal education, the methodologies of the liberal arts disciplines, and the use of computer technology for basic research. Taking courses in Liberal Studies will ensure that you: 

  1. Can think critically and analytically, integrate and synthesize knowledge, and draw conclusions from complex information

  2. Can make sound ethical and value judgments

  3. Possess a base of knowledge common to educated persons

  4. Can communicate effectively in written, oral, and symbolic form

  5. Understand and can explain the value of the liberal arts

  6. Understand and can apply the information gathering and organizing methodologies of the liberal disciplines, including the use of information technology

  7. Can apply the concepts and methodologies of the liberal arts to understand issues in society and in your own life

Marketing 311: Principles of Marketing - A study of the activities involved in the distribution of goods and services in a system-analysis framework. Examines consumer buying behavior and marketing functions within the firm. Investigates constraints imposed on decision makes and evaluates the performance of marketing in terms of social and economic efficiency. 

Sociology 250: Social Problems - This course examines various theoretical explanations of contemporary social problems of contemporary social problems such as crime, drug use, poverty, discrimination, health care, violence, education, and environmental pollution. The impact of social problems on different groups in society and the role of social movements, government, and social policy are considered.