Unfinished Picture Clouds Fall Art Classes

By Elizabeth Scalzo


Going online for even a portion of the semester presents difficulty for art classes, which rely majorly on hands-on teaching.

When FDU announced that the first three weeks of fall semester classes will be taught online, worries arose about the art department’s functionality. This is especially hard considering more changes could surface due to evolving safety plans during the pandemic. 

As of July 16, 2020, there are 30 art courses listed on Webadvisor, all of which are in-person classes that require studio time. Anyone who is taking or has taken an art class knows the main requirement for the class is attendance since studio time is crucial to completing the class. 

“Having the first three weeks online is going to be a challenge. My classes require hands-on activities,” said one teacher who asked to remain anonymous. “I can send students all the videos I want of techniques, but they won’t learn unless they are in the studio practicing them.” 

Many art courses at FDU require students to pay a studio fee. Similar to the lab fee for science courses, this fee pays for supplies and materials students will need throughout the semester. 

“If anything, the fees should be reduced for students since they won’t be in the studio for the first few weeks,” the anonymous source said. “If we end up online for the whole semester and don’t cancel art classes, the fee should be refunded. The students didn’t use the supplies so why pay for it?” 

Coronavirus’ unpredictable nature makes people wonder if students will end up going back to campus at all. If not, how will the art courses be handled? 

The Equinox contacted Todd Rosen, the director of the school of arts at both the Florham and Metropolitan campuses. He confirmed that art courses are a basic requirement in all degree audits for FDU. 

Without the ability to take art classes in-person many students may  compromise their original semester plans for chosen classes and have to adjust their overall plans to complete requirements at FDU.

The Boston Globe wrote an article when the spring semester was moved online where an art student reported having to dig up clay in the backyard to finish ceramics projects, but without the ability to fire them in a kiln, the student never officially completed the projects.

The anonymous source said there are ways to help create art. 

“The only way I can see online art courses working is if the materials are shipped to the students who live out of state and those who live in-state come and pick up the materials needed. Then I could teach on Zoom and my students would still have hands-on experience,” the source said.  

While art courses online for any period of time is not ideal, students will need to adapt to the situation in order to learn.

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Photo from Unsplash.

Art students may need an at home set-up this fall.