Meaningful Marks:

Meaningful Marks is a contemporary painting workshop, wherein you will learn contemporary painting techniques, theory, and principles while exploring the power of marks to convey meaning and emotion in your artwork. In this course, you will create three paintings that build on the skills and concepts covered in class. We will discuss how color theory, composition, and mark-making techniques affect the concepts, emotions and meaning in your paintings. You will experiment with different materials and tools, such as brushes, palette knives, and mixed media, to further develop your unique style and visual language. In addition, we will discuss conceptual approaches to painting and workshop how we communicate ideas and express emotions through our visual languages. By the end of this course, you will have a solid understanding of contemporary painting techniques and concepts, as well as the confidence and skills to continue exploring and creating meaningful artwork.

Office Hours: TBA
***ALL Classes include FREE & Continuous Membership Access to our virtual Campus Programming
** Payment Plans Available

Erlin Geffrard is a painter based in Philadelphia, PA. Most of his work is mixed media painting with a variety of styles.Ranging from family portraits, to images derived from imagination. Using new, and repurposed materials in rhythmic combinations. His Current series explores the connections between family memory, ritual and popular culture. 

Erlin has had solo shows at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Armory Show Booth F19 in New York, Allentown Museum, SWIM Gallery in San Francisco, CA, ICA in Philadelphia, PA, and at the Philadelphia Contemporary Museum, among others. In 2021 Erlin was artist in residence at Bedstuy Residency in New York ,NY. He graduated with his MFA from University of Pennsylvania and has his BFA from San Francisco Art Institute.

This is the second time Erlin Geffrard is teaching Meaningful Marks: contemporary painting workshop with the Alternative Art School

Projection/ Memory/ Monument

Projection/ Memory/ Monument
Krzysztof Wodiczko
The course will introduce the participants to the process of development of artistic concepts and proposals for the interior and outdoor projections that examine, engage, and transform the meaning of the forms of existing environment such as domestic and workspaces as well as architectural, sculptural, and natural monuments.

Projection/ Memory/ Monument will be divided into two parts.
The first part, three weeks long, will be devoted to the use of a projector for artistic experiments that engage the parts, details, and objects of the existing and accessible interior spaces. These experiments will be video documented to be shared and discussed.
The second part of the course will focus on the development of the exterior projection concepts and proposals for the installations, interventions, or participatory events to engage the architectural, sculptural, or natural forms and monuments. Such projection proposals will assume the final form of a descriptions, visualizations, or video simulation created in anticipation of their potential public presentations and implementation. Potential projection sites will be selected by the course participants themselves in mutual consultations and discussions that will be begin early in the course. Practical experiments with such public sites (or their fragments or details), are not expected but welcomed if some among the course participants have the multimedia experience and access to appropriate projection equipment.

The course meetings will consist of the breakup room discussions and group reviews focusing on the projects in progress, supplemented by the selected readings and presentations that address aesthetic ideas and artistic practice relevant to the course.

The minimum requirements:

1.Basic experience in photography, video, photoshop and video montage, and an access to a digital camera, a computer, a smartphone, and related software.
2. An access to a miniprojector or a home video projector with a computer/smartphone connector, best wireless and battery rechargeable and with an audio-out port.

Recommended low cost miniprojector: “Apeman M4/M4S Mini Pocket DLP Projector1080P

Something out of Nothing

Something out of nothing:Experiments in Quick Thinking and Quick Working With Mark Dion & Lenka Clayton

something out of Nothing will focus on brainstorming and problem solving to materialize conceptual solutions to site specific art making problems. The methodology would be fast paced, down and dirty and rather fun. We’ll explore intuitive reasoning, improvisation, and bricolage. Students will be guided to make a series of works in response to prompts, questions and challenges that aim to condense the process of ideation to realization in order to explore and expand an art making practice.

Mark Dion was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1961. He received a BFA (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2003) from the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School, and attended the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program.
Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. Appropriating archaeological, field ecology, and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between ‘objective’ (‘rational’) scientific methods and ‘subjective’ (‘irrational’) influences. Dion also frequently collaborates with museums of natural history, aquariums, zoos, and other institutions mandated to produce public knowledge on the topic of nature.
By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Mark Dion questions the objectivity and authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society, tracking how pseudo-science, social agendas, and ideology creep into public discourse and knowledge production.

Lenka Clayton is an interdisciplinary artist whose work considers, exaggerates, and alters the accepted rules of everyday life, extending the familiar into the realms of the poetic and absurd. In previous works, she has searched for and photographed every person mentioned by name in a single edition of a German newspaper; corresponded by letter with a thousand museum directors and curators to explore the nature of art; worked with artists who identify as blind to recreate Brancusi’s Sculpture for the Blind from a spoken description; and built a full size, working lighthouse hidden within a dilapidated row house. Clayton is also the founder of An Artist Residency in Motherhood, a self-directed, open-source artist residency program that takes place inside the homes and lives of artists who are also parents. There are currently over 1,200 artists-in-residence in 80 countries.

Recent exhibitions include The Museum Collects Itself (2023) at the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, Rising Sun (2023) at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Day Jobs (2023) at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Darkhouse Lighthouse (2022) Troy Hill Art Houses, Pittsburgh, To Begin Again (2022) at ICA Boston, Fruit and Other Things (2019) at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Apollo’s Muse (2019) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art NY and . . . circle through New York (2017) at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Clayton’s work has been supported by The Warhol Foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts. She has received an Art Matters Award, a Carol R. Brown Award for Creative Achievement, and a Creative Development Grant from Heinz/Pittsburgh Foundation. She has been artist-in-residence at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, PA and Headlands Center for the Arts, CA. Clayton’s work is held in collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, SFMoMA in California, Hamburger Kunsthalle in Germany, and The Carnegie Museum of Art and The Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania.

Art & Gender

We live in a world organized by gender. As artists this affects the work we make, the opportunities we get, and the lens through which others view our work. As humans, this affects where we go, who we spend our time with, and what human rights we are entitled to receive.

How does the gender binary, or our rejection of it, color the artwork we make and the lives we live? How can we play with gender stereotypes, effectively speak about human rights violations, or simply thrive in the daily grind of our gendered reality?

In Art & Gender, artists will workshop their own projects with a cohort of artists also interested in discussing the ways gender frames us and our work. There will be weekly exercises, readings, and breakout sessions for in-depth feedback on developing projects. The exercises will focus on strengthening our creative processes and the readings and watchings will expand our discussions on gender as it relates to art and lives as artists.

Amber Imrie is a queer artist, art educator, and founding team member of The Alternative Art School. She received her BA from UC Berkeley and MFA from Stanford University. She’s been the recipient of many awards, fellowships, and residencies including the Murphy Cadogan Award and Anita Squires Fowler Award in Photography. Amber Founded and was editor-in-chief of the art magazine, Venison Magazine from 2014-2017, ran a pop-up art residency, Camp Venison in 2015, and has facilitated critique sessions in and outside formal education. Imrie has taught at a variety of institutions, including UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Since 2020 Amber has worked alongside Nato Thompson building the Alternative Art School. Imrie lives in Winslow, Arkansas, and is developing a new body of artworks centered on queering the rural American South.

Art, Climate & Land-Use

Art, Climate & Land-Use

Socio-Environmental Imagination in the age of the Agripocene With Amy Franceschini

The Art Climate and Land-Use course will look at different forms of art and activism that address issues of land use, climate change and environmental justice with a focus on strategies of collaboration, durational approaches and methods for developing unconventional partnerships to realize the unthinkable. Lectures and invited guests will demonstrate how to move, be moved and to move mass(es) – from the small gesture to large-scale productions that overturn policy, food systems and practices of everyday life to form new paths of resistance, mutual aid and reciprocal engagement.

Theories of Felix Guattari, Isabelle Stengers, Bruno Latour and Maria Puig de la Bellacasa (among others) will be contextualized through the practice of invited guests and a series of short assignments will form the basis for discussion around student work.

Art Climate and Land-Use questions how humans have transformed the planet through the act of growing food , i.e.agri-culture. Agriculture has transformed how we use and relate to land, it has domesticated plants and animals and shaped our cities and ultimately how we live together. A new field of practices are emerging with fertile dreams, landscape-wide aspirations and determination to become autonomous from large-scale food systems and wishes to shape stable networks of producers and consumers that can support life. Let us be among them!

Amy Franceschini’s Futurefarmers work in contexts where intricate social structures are intertwined with city infrastructure and the complexities of collective memories embedded in (and around) a site. Through processes of participatory research, critical reflection, and sustained public programming, hidden potentials held within these scenographies can emerge. Members of Futurefarmers collective will join to share their perspectives from the frameworks of architecture, philosophy and anthropology.

Office hours: Thursdays 11:30 -12:30 pm (for 1-1 meetings with Amy)

***ALL Classes include FREE & Continuous Membership Access to our virtual campus Programming called Student Life
** Payment Plans Available

Making A Life of Art

In this course, Thompson will address and workshop the complexities of living an artistic life. Ranging from practical issues like artistic work routines and navigating the art world to more philosophical issues of community, sustainability, and life-work balance; the course is meant as a hands-on workshop for artists and curators interested in making a cultural life amidst a difficult and socially arduous world. The course will also include visiting artists, readings, and discussions.

Office Hours: TBA

***ALL Classes include FREE & Continuous Membership Access to our virtual campus Programming called Student Life
** Payment Plans Available
Nato Thompson is an author, curator, and what he describes as “cultural infrastructure builder”. He has worked as Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary, and Creative Time as Artistic Director and Curator at MASS MoCA.

Thompson organized major Creative Time projects including The Creative Time Summit (2009–2015), Pedro Reyes’ Doomocracy (2016), Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014), Living as Form (2011), Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures (2012), Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is (2009, with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), and Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), among others.

He has written two books of cultural criticism, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century (2015) and Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life (2017). He founded the Alternative Art School in 2020.

Since January 2007, Nato Thompson has organized major projects for Creative Time including the annual Creative Time Summit, Living as Form (2011), Paul Ramirez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie (2009), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), Paul Chan’s acclaimed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007) and Mike Nelson’s A Psychic Vacuum with curator Peter Eleey. Previously, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions including The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004) with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including BookForum, Frieze, Art Journal, Art Forum, Parkett, Cabinetand The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. The College Art Association awarded him for distinguished writing in Art Journal in 2004. He curated the exhibition for Independent Curators International titled Experimental Geography with a book available by Melville House Publishing. His book Seeing Power: Socially Engaged Art in the Age of Cultural Production was published by Melville House in January 2012.