my pathway experience

Art in the Landscape

Jennifer Sullivan '10, a Business Administration major from Falmouth, Mass. who is involved in Emerging Leaders and interested in joining SIFE, discusses her Pathway, “Art in the Landscape,” led by Fine and Performing Arts Professor Loretta Barnett. Pathways, the foundation of Colby-Sawyer's Liberal Education Program, are a group of theme-based, interdisciplinary seminars that students choose for their first and second years. In Art in the Landscape,the First Year Seminar explores the basic elements of design and the vocabulary necessary for the understanding of sculptural form and landscape design while the Sophomore Seminar explores topics such as the politics and protocols of creating art in the landscape, public art-parks, malls, cemeteries as monuments and memorials and in gardens.

Why did you choose this Pathway, and what are some of the important things you've learned through the course?

Art and nature are significant parts of my life, and I felt this Pathway would expand my views on each. Most important, I have learned the importance of understanding nature in creating manmade landscapes, the power of land that art has in communicating environmental flaws on the earth, and how art involves politics, business, and economics, in addition to providing beauty and inspiration.

Pathways are designed as theme-based and interdisciplinary. What do you see as some of the major themes discussed in the course?

The themes I see are creating awareness of human degradation on the earth through land art, expanding one's mind beyond the visible, and creating interactions between human and nature.

Please describe some of the resources used in the class.

We had a variety, including: Earthworks, modern landscape architecture, the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” films on artists such as Chilhuly, Christo and Beardsley.

What kinds of projects have you completed for the course?

We were assigned various essays exploring artists' ideals and how land art relates to politics and environmental concerns, multiple landscape plot designs, a 3-dimensional plot design, and a year-end research project on a modern land artist.

The name “Pathway” suggests a journey. How has the course and you and your classmates evolved from one year to the next?

I was exempt from the first year as a transfer student, but this Pathway has allowed me to make connections to courses such as history, business and science and realize that the landscape and earth relates to each discipline in its own way. This has been my favorite course thus far at Colby-Sawyer.