As classes start up again, so does the all–too–familiar race to secure your schedule. Left and right people are scrambling to hop on PennInTouch after receiving that long–awaited email from PennCourseNotify. Well, forget MATH104 and ECON001 because there are some open art classes ready to be enrolled in. Here are three art classes worth adding to your course cart.


FNAR264: Art, Design, and Digital Culture

Described as an “introduction to the fundamental perception, representation, aesthetics, and design that shape today’s visual culture,” this class teaches the fundamentals of Adobe in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere. Using these digital tools, the class takes you on a journey to form your own answers to “what is an image?” and visualize all kinds of stories, such as poems. 

The class is one of the many sought after regardless of major simply because it equips you with the skills needed for giant software platforms and allows for the creativity not necessarily found in many other departments. “I think just being in a really quantitative school, I really missed having a steady creative outlet, and this class gave it to me,” said Chrissy Walker (W ‘19). “The assessment of assignments was really personalized and all about pushing your individual creative limits.” 

FNAR340: Digital Photography

For those who have yet to appreciate all that Philly has to offer, FNAR340 is the perfect excuse to get outside the Penn bubble. With no pictures of campus allowed, the course gives you the opportunity to explore the city while familiarizing yourself with issues of image representation. Although it’s a 300–level course, amateur photographers needn't fear. FNAR340 is tailored to students across all years or majors and is essentially an intro photography class. “It’s a really really good way to meet kids from other majors/years (and get recs for Philly food),” said Shannon Peters (N ‘21). “There was a 35–year–old dude in my class.” 

FNAR 222: Big Pictures: Mural Arts

The best part of this class is perhaps the professors—the very people involved with the work being studied. Taught by Jane Golden, the executive director of the Mural Arts Program, and Shira Walinsky, a mural arts painter and founder of a community center for Burmese refugees in South Philadelphia, the class gets to see and examine murals drawn by both professional mural artists and prosecuted graffiti artists alike. 

As an Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) course, it pushes you off campus not just to see the murals in all of their beauty, but also to learn about the convergence of art and social issues. At the end of the course, students get to design a large outdoor mural with Philadelphia high school students and community groups. Given the chance to go on mural tours throughout the city and meet with community leaders to discuss the impact of different murals, Cristina Vaca (C ‘19) described it as “definitely an eye–opening class.”


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