RC Creative Arts
No other program in LSA offers a wider range of studio arts classes. RC students have the opportunity to take courses in our own studios and to exhibit their work in gallery and theater space within East Quad.
Past course offerings have included ceramics (with on-site kilns), drawing and painting, photography (with on-site darkroom), holography, media studies, ethnic dance from the Congo and Java, music composition courses, and a breadth of theater opportunities—in short, everything that brings the humanities to life.
Did you know that Louis the XIV was a terrific ballet dancer who used dance as an important tool of political power? That the “Lord of Dance” is not Michael Flatley, but the Hindu god Shiva, whose dancing image is at the core of Hindu cosmology? That Shakespeare and his actors danced the latest social dances for their audiences after tragedies as well as comedies? And did you know that Michael Jackson’s moonwalk, Elvis Presley’s shimmy, and today’s hip-hop moves can be traced to African and African American dances that go back hundreds, if not thousands, of years?
Humans have always danced. Children all over the world learn social values as well as survival skills through dance. Dance has played an important role in political and social struggles. Rites of passage from birth to death are marked by dance. Dance is a form of worship on every continent. And dance – from ballet to post modern, tap dance to hip-hop, bharata natyam to bedhoya – is, as you do know, also an art – thrilling to watch, fascinating to analyze, as well as an important reflection of the history and values of the people who dance it.
The RC offers a unique series of courses and activities that give students the chance to study the history and cultural context as well as the practice of dance.
The RC music program is energetic, vibrant and constantly evolving. It offers performance, music theory/composition and musicology/ethnomusicology classes, and concentrates on the kinds of classes that the School of Music does not offer for non-music majors. The RC Music classes count for both the LSA music concentration and the RC Arts and Ideas Concentration. The performance classes also fulfill the LSA Creative Expression and RC Arts Practicum requirements. In true RC style, the RC Music program is especially interested in developing collaborations, interdisciplinary classes and innovative projects.
The performance faculty consists of two School of Music faculty members, percussionist Michael Gould, DMA and trumpeter/composer Mark Kirschenmann, PhD as well as cellist Katri Ervamaa, DMA (the Head of the RC Music Program). The three also form E3Q, an eclectic jazz influenced trio whose premiere recording “Songbook I” was released on Block M Records. Additional performance faculty includes the Director of RC Singers (a School of Music GSI, awarded annually) and the Director of the Chinese Music Ensemble (awarded annually by the Confucius Institute).
The musicology and ethnomusicology faculty consists of Naomi Andre, PhD (Women’s Studies) and Susan Pratt Walton, also a School of Music faculty member, who teaches both performance and musicology of the music of Southeast Asia, often in one, interdisciplinary class. Additional musicology classes are taught by School of Music GSI’s (awarded annually).
Artists in residence
For the past four years, the RC has been host to a series of distinguished artists-in-residence from the islands of Java (and Bali) who have offered classes in Javanese dance, music, and shadow puppetry. The classes usually build to a major performance put on by the artists in residence and their students.
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The Residential College Studio Arts Program is based on the premise that art at its most fundamental level is an expression of awareness and that first-hand knowledge of the visual arts is an essential determinant of the quality of life. The Studio Arts Program is one of the Residential College’s unique features, as the college itself is unique in requiring its students to take as part of their degree requirements a course in the fine arts, which includes studio work.
The goals of our program are to develop wide-ranging skills, interests, and capabilities. Diversification, conceptual and interdisciplinary skills, and fundamental visual and craft principles all must be dealt with in one or two courses in any given medium. Our courses require an intensive commitment of time and energy by both faculty and students. It is our intention not only to give students technical expertise in a given area of visual arts but also to train students to think deeply and critically about the place of art in contemporary society.
The Fine Arts Program offers courses at both beginning and upper levels. No prerequisites are necessary for the beginning courses, and students with no previous art experience are encouraged to try these courses.
Our studios for ceramics, fibers and design, printmaking, photography and holography are accessible 24 hours a day to enrolled students.
The Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Program offers a broad array of interdisciplinary courses in literature, the visual arts and music. Many courses focus on specific historical moments or contexts ranging from ancient times to the 21st century understood in global terms. Students are encouraged to encounter different cultures through their distinctive artistic production, and to develop the interpretive and analytical skills appropriate to an understanding of these works. Courses in visual studies, dance, studio art and music provide training in comparative analysis as well as in the actual practice of these art forms. By combining studio practice with the academic study of art, the Arts and Ideas curriculum enables students to understand global art production from three important perspectives: in the field of critical theory; in historical depth; and in the immediately engaged space of studio discovery.
Click here for a more detailed description of the RC Arts and Ideas concentration requirements.
For even more information on the Arts and Ideas concentration please contact:
The RC Academic Services Office
134 Tyler - East Quad
The RC Drama program offers a study unique at U of M: the understanding of drama both as art form and literature. Students learn to understand all the stages of the dramatic process—from circumstances of a work’s composition, to the history of theater methods and presentation, and myriad forms of expression. Students also attune their sense of theater aesthetic through practice and experimentation—they learn costuming, lighting, scenery, all of the factors that help create true perform—and of course, they act.
Click here for a more detailed description of the RC Drama concentration curriculum and requirements.
The RC Creative Writing and Literature program allows students to simultaneously develop their writing skills [in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, etc.] while pursuing a serious study of literature. RC students work closely with faculty, initially in workshop classes and then individually in writing tutorials.
Click here for a more detailed description of the RC Creative Writing concentration requirements.
RC Creative Writing students have demonstrated unparalled success in the esteemed U of M Hopwood Awards program, winning 108 awards since the 1994-95 school year.
For even more information on the Creative Writing concentration please contact:
The RC Academic Services Office
134 Tyler - East Quad
The Residential College Art Gallery is located in the University of Michigan’s East Quadrangle Residence Hall (701 E. University, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1245.) [See map.] The approximately 500 square-foot exhibit space hosts two professional and one RC student exhibit in both the fall and winter semesters. The Gallery opened in 1997 in conjunction with the RC’s 30th Anniversary celebration with a photo exhibit of the acclaimed international photojournalist (and 1977 RC alumnus), David Turnley.
In recent years exhibitors have included: Frank Cassara, Margo Mensing, Ellen Wilt, Kate Blacklock, Wendel Heers, Marianetta Porter, Tom Voorhees, Sherri Smith, Sa Schloff, and all four of the current RC Studio Art faculty.
If you have questions concerning the RC Art Gallery, please contact Larry Cressman email@example.com or Jason Wright firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RC Art Gallery closes in the summer.
Note: The RC Art Gallery is best accessed through the west-side of East Quadrangle, off of East University Street and across from the UM Business School. All UM dormitories are locked 24 hours per day; so you will need to call 3-0176 (phone by entrance) in order to gain access.
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