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
email me  


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 (If having a public display)

1. Propose a project.  Include references to art work out in the world already in your chosen media that you feel you can handle technically.  We want you to draw on your strengths... This is not the time to learn something new in terms of media or technique.  Deadline: Early February.  Create a Drive folder and share it with me.  Place images, links, random thoughts, progress notes, etc. here.  I will comment there.  It is important that I am on board with your project and agree to the amount of work, the content, the technique and so on.

2.  By midterm, (March 17) you are well on your way, you have work completed towards the final project.  Propose how the end of the project will occur.  Will you hang work and have an opening?  Just hang work?  Not hang work but create a slideshow instead?

3.  Three quarters of the way through the term you should be well into the project and nearing the end of it.  Note: we no longer have a dedicated gallery space. If you would like to hang work, talk to me about options on campus... either in Walsh Hall or the Campus Center. We need to coordinate this so work can go up by the end of April and there is enough room for the work to stay up until finals week.  Classes end May 6th this year.

4.  Above all, stay in communication with me.  We are all very busy with our commitments... Do update me on things each week.  I will take attendance from that.  Email is best for me to stay in touch... use it to point me to new things in your Drive portfolio. Spring semester passes quickly!


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."



 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

Accommodations for Special Needs: Albertus Magnus College is committed to ensuring that all qualified students with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from its programs and services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Office of Disability Services is responsible for the determination of appropriate accommodations for students who encounter barriers due to disability. Contact the Office of Disability Services at or 203-672-6671 to schedule an intake interview and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, the Office of Disability Services will provide you and your instructor with a Letter of Accommodation. Please discuss the accommodations with your instructors as early in your courses as possible

The Germain Center for Academic Success provides quality tutoring services to all students at Albertus Magnus College. Students can make appointments by booking through Navigate, emailing, or calling 203-773-8590. The Germain Center is open for normal hours during the academic year (Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.; Friday, 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.; Saturday, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.) and abbreviated, virtual hours during the winter intersession and mod five. Further, (Online Tutoring 24/7) provides online tutoring for many subjects throughout the year -- even when the Germain Center is closed. Students can access through the link at the top of their eLearning pages. If students have any questions about tutoring, they can email

PGS offices are now located on the first floor of Aquinas Hall.

The Registrar's Office, Financial Aid, Human Resources, and the Business Office are now located in the former PGS suite, now called the Student Administrative Services Suite, found on the ground floor of Aquinas Hall

Tradition of Respect: In our class: 1) Everyone is allowed to feel they can work and learn in a safe and caring environment; 2) Everyone learns about, understands, appreciates, and respects varied races, classes, genders, physical and mental abilities, and sexualities; 3) Everyone matters; 4) All individuals are to be respected and treated with dignity and civility; and 5) Everyone shares the responsibility for making our class, and the College, a positive and better place to live, work, and learn.

Prevention of Power-Based Violence Resources 

If you or someone you know is concerned about, have experienced, or currently are experiencing sexual harassment, assault, power-based violence, or stalking, there are many resources available both on and off campus for students to utilize.Click on the link above or here

Click here for Germain Center (Tutoring)
Click here for Health and Wellness Services (Counseling)
Click here for Accessibility & Disability Services
Click here for Career & Professional Development



Back to Syllabi

Contact me


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