Artist's Statement
How to write one

AR 391 Senior Project

Senior Project
Albertus Magnus College
Jerry Nevins, Professor
773-8546, office
Office: 203 Aquinas Hall
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COURSE DESCRIPTION – The Senior Project in studio art is an independent study course that gives students the opportunity to work one-on-one with a professor in a given field of studio art. This course is for advanced students who have already had all preliminary coursework in the area of their chosen medium for the gallery exhibition.

COURSE OBJECTIVES – Senior Project students are expected to develop and refine a thematically linked body of their own work which will be displayed in a gallery exhibition. In this body of work students should demonstrate an understanding of how technique and media are used in service of their conceptual and expressive goals. Students should also demonstrate refinement of technical skills over the course of the semester. Students will be expected to carry out library and Internet research that relates to their portfolio topic. An artist’s statement and bibliography should accompany the final exhibition. Each student is responsible for all aspects of framing, exhibit installation, publicity and the opening reception for his/her show.


1) The coursework should begin with a written proposal outlining the following components of your studio project:

-media and technique
-format and scale
-the number of works you expect to complete by the end of the course
-an explanation of how composition, media and technique will be used to serve
conceptual goals.
-reference to how student’s artwork fits into art historical context (names of
artists and movements that have inspired your work).
-exhibit installation and show dates.

Note – This proposal will later be developed into an artist’s statement.

2) Students are expected to do supplemental research and reading and to submit written these at the midterm and final points during the semester in the sketchbook..

3) Students are expected to meet with the faculty member weekly during the semester to gain feedback on their completed works or works in-progress. This can be an email contact, Zoom call, or in person meeting at school.

4) A commitment of 6 hours or more per week of studio time.

5) End of semester review:
- Final Portfolio of all works exhibited in art gallery
-Artist’s Statement & Bibliography
- Sketchbook
-Exhibition Press materials: invitation /announcement, press release, Poster

Rubric for Assessment of final work:






#1 Artist Statement
Articulates the goal for the exhibition with written artist’s statement and carries out the goal uniformly in the exhibition.

The exhibition’s  goal is clearly stated.  Candidate’s intent and execution match up well in the exhibition.

The articulated exhibition’s goal is well stated and the candidate largely meets their intended goal.

Little evidence of intention in the exhibit.  Rambling, incoherent artist statement.


#2  Project builds upon previous skills . 

There is clear evidence that the candidate has made progress in the medium and has attained a level of mastery appropriate for the scope and intent of the exhibit.

Level of mastery is appropriate to the amount of time the candidate has spent working in their chosen medium.

Little evidence of candidate building on previous skills.  Significant technical issues are evident in the work.


#3 Candidate worked with advisor to refine and articulate exhibition intention  

Candidate met regularly with advisor during the creation phase of the exhibition.  Sought feedback, adjusted course as necessary.

Candidate met  somewhat regularly with advisor during the creation phase of the exhibition. 

Candidate rarely or never met with exhibition advisor .


#4 Candidate handled mounting tasks appropriately

Candidate planned ahead and mounted exhibition professionally and in a timely manner.

Exhibition came together on time, but at the expense less than perfect installation.

Sloppy installation.  Late installation. Inappropriate display.


#5 Candidate publicized exhibition appropriately

Student handled publicity professionally.  Exhibition poster and or cards well designed and printed ahead of time.  Electronic version of poster/card sent to IT department for distribution.  Announced invitation on candidates social media site.

Acceptable level of quality on poster/card design.  Acceptable time line observed. 

Announcement poster/card missing or late.  Student did not publicize event.  Did not use Social media to invite guests to event.


#6 Use of medium/ demonstrates technical accomplishment

Student builds upon previous work in medium.  Demonstrates excellent level of mastery.

Work demonstrates an appropriate level of mastery for time spent in chosen medium.

Work sloppy or demonstrates little technical mastery.


#7 Engages in creativity with an understanding of the role of process and ability to refine direction.

Candidate understands medium well enough to allow for process of the medium to speak.  Student has clear understanding of the role process plays. Engages in creative  play with the medium.

Student shows competent understanding of the medium.  Less evidence of “happy accidents” resulting from awareness of process.

Candidate demonstrates little awareness of the roll the medium itself plays in the creative process.


#8 Art Historical Context

Candidate clearly understands where their work falls in the context of what has come before.  Candidate engages in an active dialog with artists that have come before.

Student is aware of the art historical context of the work they are engaged in but may be less able to articulate how they are contributing to the conversation about the genre they are exploring.

Student is unaware of how their work fits into the broad history of the medium they are working in.


#9 Understands Contemporary Issues

Student understands contemporary practice in their chosen medium.  They are in dialog with current trends and practice in their medium. 

Student is aware of current trends, but may not articulate clearly how their practice relates to contemporary ideas.

Candidate is unaware of contemporary practice in their medium.  Has a feel of being “outsider art”.


#10 Unity
All pieces work together to contribute to the whole

Student’s exhibition demonstrates clear coherence and attention to the intent of the work as stated in the Artist’s Statement.

Exhibition generally stays on the task at hand and shows an understanding of the stated goals of the exhibition.

Little evidence of there being a coherent, intentional exhibition  with individual pieces contributing to the whole.



Creating an Artist Statement

What is an artist statement?

An artist statement is a concise written document by the artist that explains the nature of his or her artistic work.

When is an artist statement used?

Exhibition purposes, grant applications, teaching position applications, fellowships, and more. It will be used in a number of ways, including to point the viewer to the concerns you consider to be important in the work, and to help publicists, curators, and critics write about the work.

Writing an artist statement

Begin by creating lists of the following in relation to your work:

    * Thematic focus of work

    * Content of work Influences (cultural, historical, theoretical, art historical)

    * Form of work (materials used, processes employed, tradition of work —e.g.       abstract, figurative, etc.)

After creating these lists, formalize and organize your material. Begin with a thesis statement and continue to build on it. Most statements are one page, often three or four paragraphs long.

Consider the following:

    * Clarify the conceptual parameters of your work in your own mind before you begin       to write the statement (If you are unsure of what your work is about, your readers       will be, too.)

    * Who is your audience?

    * Avoid editorializing or over-explaining

    * Keep your statement concise, succinct, straightforward and to the point.

    * Avoid using jargon.

Other helpful hints:

    * Have a friend ask you questions about your work. Answer the questions, record the       conversation or take notes.

    * Have someone who doesn't know your work ask you questions.

    * Read the statements or writings of artists with whom you have an affinity.

    * Write in the first person and avoid "art speak."

    * Speak as honestly and straightforward as you can. Edit out phrases that are not       specific to your work.

    * There are experiences that are common to almost every artist that, although they       may be powerful and profound for each individual, seem ordinary to the viewer.

    * Keep it concise; one page is more than enough.

    * Make the reader want to look at, and know more about your work.

    * Your statement should be more than just a description of your process.

    * Use quotations ONLY when they are absolutely relevant to your work.

    * Have a faculty member read your statement while looking at the work.


Tradition of Honor: As a member of the Albertus Magnus College Community, each student taking this course agrees to uphold the principles of honor set forth by this community, to defend these principles against abuse or misuse and to abide by the regulations of the College. To this end, every student must write and sign the following statement at the end of each examination: "I declare the Honor Pledge."

Accommodations for Special Needs:
Please advise the instructor of any special problems or needs at the beginning of the semester. Those students seeking reasonable accommodations based on disabilities should contact Shayna Chomko, Director of the Germain Center and Coordinator of Disability Services, (203) 672-1050 or, to obtain a Faculty Accommodation Letter. Albertus Magnus College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In order to respect the independence, rights and dignity of students with disabilities, the College initiates services only after a student makes a voluntary disclosure of a disability to the Office of Academic and Student Disability Services. Students who are approved for accommodations are responsible for approaching instructors in a timely manner to provide faculty accommodation letters and to arrange how accommodations will be implemented. Accommodations cannot be retroactive, so we strongly advise students to make accommodation appointments as soon as possible.

In providing reasonable accommodations, the College shall not fundamentally alter the nature of programs, services, or activities, require a waiver of essential academic standards, or violate accreditation requirements.


 It is the responsibility of the student to officially drop or withdraw from a course.  However, failure to attend a course for 14 calendar days may result in an administrative withdrawal from the course. The policies on course withdrawals and administrative withdrawals may be found online at


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David's Back #3
Karri- Ann Filiatreault
Senior Project, AR 391, Spring 2012