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Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Department prepares students to become confident creative thinkers, makers and problem solvers. Through a wide variety of course offerings for learning at every level of inquiry and interest, each discipline of the visual arts (including drawing, painting, printmaking, programming, capturing, sculpting, filming and forming), provides students with the opportunity to solve problems by learning through discovery. Beyond the development of skills and training in techniques, the coursework involves gaining an understanding of visual thinking and critical making while fostering interdisciplinary connections and collaboration.

You can view student work through our web gallery: www.tasupperschoolart.com

Course Offerings 2019-2020

VISUAL ARTS (UART21)

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grade: 9-12

Prerequisite: None

Homework: Light

This introductory course is the gateway to any advanced study in the visual arts, including AP Studio Art and IB Art. Students learn to work with a wide range of tools and techniques in areas such as drawing, painting, printmaking, design, sculpture, and digital media. Students are pushed to develop original ideas, creatively engage with art materials and use the vocabulary of an artist. Students develop an understanding of the Elements of Art and utilize the Principles of Design while solving visual problems based on assignments. Students are expected to engage in prompts in a personal way and begin to develop an artist voice. The Art Department has a wide range of materials available for student use, but occasionally a student may need to purchase special or unusual items for an assignment. Student work is assessed on the use of composition, use of class-time, craftsmanship and creative solutions. Students explore ideas and record their reflections in a sketchbook while maintaining a portfolio on the department web gallery.

DRAWING I (UART23)

 

Duration: 1 semester, offered in Semester I only

Credit: 0.5

Grade: 9-12

Prerequisite: None

Homework: Light

 

In this pre-AP course, students work with a wide range of drawing materials – both traditional and digital – in order to investigate the nature of drawing itself through mark-making. Students use the Elements of Art and apply the Principles of Design when creating compositions that demonstrate an understanding of emphasis, unity and balance. Recording what they see, students observe closely, learn basic perspective, use positive and negative space and create work capable of going into a college portfolio or be used in a higher level class like AP Studio Art or IB Art. Students are introduced to the computer as an artistic tool using both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. At the end of the semester, students will have finished drawings that reflect college level work in terms of composition, craftsmanship and creativity. Students explore ideas and record their reflections in a sketchbook while maintaining a portfolio on the department web gallery.

 

DRAWING II (UART24)

 

Duration: 1 semester, offered in Semester II only

Credit: 0.5

Grade: 9-12

Prerequisite: Drawing I, Visual Arts or by permission of instructor

Homework: Moderate

 

This is the second semester of a pre-AP course, where students continue to develop their mastery of the tools and materials introduced in Drawing 1. However, the emphasis shifts from discovering materials, methods and techniques, to using them in a controlled and considered manner in order to successfully create sophisticated imagery. Students maintain a sketchbook which documents compositional solution and drafts of ideas. The assignments given in this course are aimed at refining a mature artistic expression demonstrating personal style. Students gain invaluable drawing skills and will have a number of images that are sophisticated and complex enough to be included in a college portfolio or used in higher level art classes like AP Studio Art or IB Art.

 

CERAMICS I (UART25)

Duration: 1 semester, offered in Semester I only

Credit: 0.5

Grade: 9-12

Prerequisite: None

Homework: Light

This introductory class introduces students to the basic methods of working with clay as an artistic medium. Construction techniques include: pinch, coil, slab, and extruded forms which emphasize aspects of both functional and decorative forms. Students are exposed to the potter’s wheel and learn to create objects that are personally meaningful. Students gain an understanding of and appreciation for slips, under-glazes, low and high-fire glazes. Alternative firing methods such as pit-firing and raku may be explored. Students discover the joys of working with an expressive medium and complete most assignments during class; however, they may occasionally need to spend time working in the studio beyond the regular class time. Student progress is measured by excellence in craftsmanship, use of class time, creativity in solving assignments, and through maintaining a blog with entries reflecting their understanding of techniques, gauging their skill development, and documenting their growth as an artist.

CERAMICS II (UART26)

 

Duration: 1 semester, offered in Semester 2 only

Credit: 0.5

Grade: 9-12

Prerequisite: Ceramics I or Visual Arts

Homework: Light

In Ceramics II students investigate a wide range of contemporary artists for inspiration, master of throwing on the potter’s wheel and develop advanced hand-building techniques. Students are expected to consider aspects of form and volume while creating work that is more sculptural, utilizing positive and negative space. Students experiment with a variety of surface treatments like: sgraffito, water etching, slip trailing and explore glazing techniques like: line blends, dipping and pouring, and wax resist. Students are expected to complete assignments in class however, they occasionally may need to spend personal time working in the studio, checking on a drying piece, trimming a foot, or photographing work for their blog. Student progress is measured through a demonstrated excellence in craftsmanship, use of class time, creativity in solving assignments, and through maintaining a blog with entries reflecting their understanding of techniques, gauging their skill development and documenting their personal growth as a clay artist.

HONORS ADVANCED CERAMICS (UART27H)

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1.0

Grades: 10-12

Prerequisite: Ceramics 1 and Ceramics 2 or by permission of instructor

Homework: Moderate

In this course, students have the opportunity to develop a personal body of work that focuses on a theme, a forming technique, and a surface/firing technique of their own choosing. During the first semester, students will master the use of the Lutum 3-D Clay printer, wheel throwing, extruding, sculpting, and hand-building techniques. Exploring either functional or sculptural objects, students will become proficient with various surface techniques (such as burnishing, terra sigillata, sgraffito, mishima, slip trailing), glazing (including shino glazes, copper reds, celadons), and firing techniques (including raku, electric oxidation, high fire gas reduction, soda, and barrel firing). By the end of the first semester, each student will have a culminating work with which they will submit to the Scholastic Art Awards. The themes and techniques in these culminating works will be the guiding posts for each student’s entire second semester. The course will conclude with a group exhibition showcasing each student’s unique themes and mastery of advanced techniques. Students are expected to work outside of regular class time each week.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY I (UART28)

 

Duration: 1 Semester, offered in Semester 1 only

Credit: 0.5

Grade: 9-12

Prerequisite: None

Homework: Light

This is an introductory course in which students will learn about the camera as a communicative tool. The course will explore the history, aesthetics, and the conceptualization of photographic imagery. Students will learn about the technical aspects of the camera and use portions of the Adobe Creative Suite-- specifically Photoshop-- to manage and manipulate their images. Students will learn a wide variety of skills in order to express themselves as photographic artists. Assignments will explore traditional subject matter like portraits, still lifes, and landscapes and are based on the Elements of Art and Principles of Design. The majority of the curriculum is based on a digital workflow; however, students will be exposed to traditional film photography processes including darkroom developing, printing, and finishing black and white photos. Student work is assessed on composition, use of class-time, craftsmanship, and creative solutions. Each student must have their own digital camera with manual features or settings such as aperture priority mode, manual shutter control, manual aperture control, and the ability to shoot in a variety of settings. A smartphone will not meet the requirements of this course.

 

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY 2 (UART29)

Duration: 1 Semester, offered in Semester 2 only

Credit: 0.5

Grade: 9-12

Prerequisite: Digital Photography I or permission of instructor

Homework: Light

This is an advanced photography course in which students will further explore the technical, artistic, and commercial aspects of photography. Students will refine and improve techniques of image exposure, composition, and concept-based artistic creation. The majority of the curriculum is based on a digital workflow; however, students will have the option to explore further traditional film photography processes including darkroom developing, printing, and finishing black and white photos. Student work is assessed on composition, use of class-time, craftsmanship, and creative solutions. The curriculum will allow for students to work on independent and cooperative projects, and each student will prepare a portfolio of work to be exhibited at the end of the year. Students will also maintain a process journal outlining the development of their creative process and serve as a platform for students to analyze and reflect on their work.

3D MODELING & CHARACTER DESIGN (UART442)

Duration: 1 year
Credit: 1
Grades: 9-12
Prerequisite: None
Homework: Moderate


This course covers the basic concepts of 3D modeling where students will
build a solid foundation of the basic tools of Maya and Mudbox. Modeling,
texturing, lighting, and rendering are introduced and students will learn
how computer graphics can be created for computer animation films,
video games, commercials, and 3D printing. This is a project oriented
course where students are exposed to the tools used by computer graphic
artists working in the computer animation, video game, visual effects, and
commercial industry. Students will gain basic knowledge on production
practices and work flow. Semester projects will include designing a 3D
organic creature and a hard surface robot. Students will also learn how to
prepare 3D models for 3D printing, texture and lighting 3D models for film
or animation, and making renders for print commercials. At the end of the
course, students will showcase their work and learn how to build a portfolio.

COMPUTER GRAPHICS AND DESIGN (UART43)

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grade: 9-12

Prerequisite: None

Homework: Light

In this introductory class students gain marketable 21st century skills, using the computer as an artistic tool to draw, illustrate, and compose images that are charged with personal subject matter and address global issues. Using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, students gain first-hand experience leading to an understanding of how text and visual elements are created, manipulated, and used, on a daily basis, in visual communication. Creativity, concept development, and craftsmanship are stressed in the creation of each assignment. Students learn about contemporary artistic trends in the design world while developing their own complex ideas for a variety of assignments. The work that students generate in this class could easily be used as part of the AP Studio Art Design Portfolio requirements or form the basis of further investigation in the IB program. Student work is assessed in terms of the use of composition, use of class-time, craftsmanship, and creative solutions. Students explore ideas and record their reflections while maintaining a blog and uploading images to the art department web gallery.

FASHION & COSTUME DESIGN (UART40)

Duration: 1 semester, offered in Semester 1 only
Credit: 0.5
Grade: 9-12
Prerequisite: None
Homework: Light


This course offers a behind-the-scenes look at the world of the fashion
designer and the costume designer. Both costume and fashion act through
the human body, with the intention of influencing behavior and thought, as
well as communicating a sense of identity or character. Students will be
exposed to the principles of costume design through the lens of various
industries and will have the opportunity to develop designs inspired by
different stimuli. A large portion of this class will be focused on the basic
materials and tools used for costume construction. All students will learn
to hand sew and learn the basics of the sewing machine. Students will
also be exposed to wardrobe and costume organization through staged
productions here at TAS. Other topics we will brush upon include the history
of fashion and influential artists in the world of fashion.

ART & LITERATURE (SEM. 1) (UART65S1)

Duration: 1 semester, offered in Semester 1 only
Credit: 0.5
Grades: 9-12
Prerequisite: None
Homework: Light 


The course is designed for students to explore in greater depth the
collaborative potential for visual art and literature, providing them the
platform to appreciate the interconnectedness of the world of words and
the world of colors. They will learn and experiment with a variety of tools,
mediums, and techniques such as drawing, painting, and mixed media as
we read and discuss poetry and short stories. The focus of the first semester
includes the exploration of symbolism, imagery and characterization,
and students will learn to use visual art as a tool to communicate their
interpretation of these authorial choices. Students will also examine works
of art and interpret the story behind these artworks through individual and
collaborative creative writing, such as poetry and fiction writing. Students
are assigned readings for homework, and are expected to record their
observations and ideas in their sketchbook so that they are prepared to
come into class to share and discuss. Most assignments are completed in
class, though they might need to work on their art and/or creative writing pieces beyond regular class time. At the end of the semester, students will
develop a body of work and produce a final portfolio along with written
reflections of their creative choices. This course is dual-listed under both
the English and Visual Art departments, and fulfills the Visual Art credit but
does not fulfill the English Core credit.

ART & LITERATURE (SEM. 2) (UART65S2)

Duration: 1 semester, offered in Semester 2 only
Credit: 0.5
Grades: 9-12
Prerequisite: None
Homework: Light


Students can take this course without having taken it in the first semester.
Course expectations and outcomes are similar to that of the first semester
in that students produce artworks that interpret the literature, and also
produce creative writing that respond to artworks. However, in the second
semester, students explore the genres of plays and novellas and examine
these texts for characterization, narrative structure, perspective, and
voice. In addition to the new mediums introduced in the second semester,
students will also interpret the story behind artworks with writing their own
short stories and plays. Similar to the first semester, most assignments
are completed in class, though they might need to work on their art and/or
creative writing pieces beyond regular class time. By the end of the second
semester, students will develop a body of work and produce a final portfolio
along with written reflections of their creative choices. This course is duallisted
under both the English and Visual Art departments, and fulfills the
Visual Art credit but does not fulfill the English Core credit.

HONORS ART & LITERATURE (UART65H)

Duration: 1 year
Credit: 1.0
Grades: 10-12, or by permission of instructor
Prerequisite: None
Homework: Moderate - Heavy


At the Honors level, workload and expectations are higher; students will
need to work on their art/creative writing pieces beyond regular class
time. Throughout the year, students develop their oral, written and visual
presentations skills as they visually interpret the literature and creatively
write about the art. They are exposed to a variety of tools, mediums, and
techniques as we read and interpret different literary genres such as poetry, prose and plays. Students are assigned readings for homework, and are
expected to record their observations and ideas in their sketchbook so
that they are prepared to come into class to share and discuss. We will
engage in individual and collaborative work in our conceptualization and
execution of art making during class time. In the second semester, students
work towards developing a personalized portfolio by focusing on a theme,
medium, or literary genre of their choosing. By the end of both semesters,
students are expected to have a portfolio of work that they can select from to
submit to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the school magazines.
The course will also conclude with student exhibitions as they “read”, reflect
and interpret the aesthetics of each other’s works of art. This course is
dual-listed under both the English and Visual Art departments and fulfills the
Visual Art credit but does not fulfill the English Core credit.

JOURNALISM - YEARBOOK (UART47)

Duration: 1 year
Credit: 1
Grade: 9-12
Prerequisite: None
Homework: Light

This introductory course will immerse students in editorial design, journalism and publishing. Students will learn the basics of photography, photo filtering and editing, layout and design, and the workflow involved in publication. The class is the core team producing the annual upper school yearbook, China Gate. Creating the yearbook is a collaborative experience between editors, members, and the broader school community. Students are often called upon to help document events happening throughout the school. The publication seeks students of all interests, capabilities, and personalities to add to a comprehensive, creative, and professional annual.

HONORS JOURNALISM - YEARBOOK (UART47H)

Duration: 1 year, may be taken multiple years

Credit: 1

Grade: 10-12

Prerequisite: Journalism- Yearbook

Homework: Moderate

For students who have successfully completed the introductory class and want to build upon the skills learned in Journalism- Yearbook. The yearbook class is the core team producing the annual upper school yearbook, China Gate. As returning members to the editorial team, honors students are expected to take on more of a leadership role. This involves leading as editors or mentors to new members in both the class and the club. Creating the yearbook is a collaborative experience between editors, members, and the broader school community. Students are often called upon to help document events happening throughout the school. Students and parents should be aware that honors students who take this course are expected to spend extra time at school; students must occasionally devote weekends to the production of publication.

FILM PRODUCTION (UART51)

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grade: 9-12

Homework: Moderate

Prerequisite: None

This introductory course will immerse students in video production; the primary focus is on using film as a communicative art, and using the skills of visual story-telling to produce texts in visual media. Students will learn the basics of photography, camera functions, video editing, media analysis, and filmmaking. This will be a hands-on, project based class with students being responsible for the production of several kinds of videos. Projects will include, but are not limited to: narrative short films, art films, public service announcements, and music videos. Students should have the ability to work both independently and collaboratively, as well as the ability to see a project through from inception to completion. Class size is limited.

HONORS FILM PRODUCTION 2 (UART52)
HONORS FILM PRODUCTION 3 (UART521)
HONORS FILM PRODUCTION 4 (UART522)

 

Honors

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grade: 10-12

Homework: Moderate to Heavy

Prerequisite: Film Production 1 or Instructor Approval

For students who have successfully completed the introductory class, and want to build on the skills learned in Intro Film. There will be continued hands-on experience in video production, as well as instruction in using high-end digital video equipment, editing hardware and software. Students are expected to develop more sophisticated and complex productions, with an emphasis on advancing technique in art direction and cinematography. Students will develop a video portfolio including at least one documentary and one short feature film project, which can be used for college and career placement. Students will be expected to submit work to Scholastic’s Art contest and other film festivals. Class size is limited.

Students should have the ability to work both independently and collaboratively, as well as the ability to see a project through from inception to completion. Students and parents should be aware that students who take this course are expected to spend extra time at school; students must occasionally devote evenings and weekends to the production of assignments.

 

IBSL FILM STUDIES (UART53)
IBSL FILM STUDIES (UART54)

Duration: 2 years

Credit: 1 per year

Grade: 10-12

Homework: Moderate

Prerequisite: IB Diploma Candidate or Instructor approval

 

IBHL FILM STUDIES (UART54)

Honors

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grade: 12

Homework: Moderate

Prerequisite: IBSL Film Studies, Teacher recommendation;

FILM STUDIES 1 (UART511)

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grade: 11-12

Homework: Moderate

Prerequisite: None

For cinema lovers who want to learn more about film history and theory,
along with acquiring the skills necessary to produce high-quality films.
Through the study and analysis of film texts, and through practical
exercises in film production, the IB Film/Film Studies courses develop
students’ critical abilities and their appreciation of artistic, cultural, historical
and global perspectives in film. Students examine film concepts, theories,
practices and ideas from multiple perspectives, so that they become adept
in viewing, interpreting, and making film. The course is taken in conjunction
with Film Production courses so that students may take part in film
production roles collaboratively. IB Film, which has external assessments,
is given honors weighting and must be taken over two years; Film Studies 1
is a one-year non-honors elective. Previous film experience is not required,
but a commitment to mastering both technical and theoretical concepts is
essential. IBHL Film meets the graduation requirement for fine arts.

ARCHITECTURE (UART45)

 

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grades: 9-12

Prerequisite: None

Homework: Moderate

As an introductory course, students will design structures, build models, use technology to create forms and render images while learning about various uses of architecture throughout history. Students will develop their visual problem solving skills, learn about spatial organization, think like artists and use their imagination when working on assignments. Students will explore various kinds of relationships between people and built forms; positive and negative space; as well as consider the impact of sustainability and concern for the environment through designing, drawing, and modelmaking. Assignments will explore fundamental design principles that outline the elements of architectural design similar to those found in the university. Students will gain hand-drawing abilities that inspire and guide them in their own creative process. Computer software such as AutoCAD and Autodesk 3ds Max are introduced as additional artistic tools. Students will develop a positive web presence by maintaining the web gallery as well as record their personal reflections on a blog.

 

HONORS ADVANCED DESIGN (UART50)

 

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grades: 12

Prerequisite: Architecture, AP Studio 3D, or by permission of instructor

Homework: Moderate

This course is designed for students of all levels who are looking to be challenged in design thinking and creative problem solving. This is a projectoriented course where students are exposed to professional level design work, in which they gain real world working experience as an industrial designer, architect or graphic designer. Students in this course will serve as a “design firm” and produce designs for potential startup “clients”. Client startup ideas will come from outside the class as well as within the class. Students will work closely with their clients as well as students from the Tech Startup Capstone course in the Robotics department, who will serve as the “engineering firm”. Student groups will pair up across the two classes to work together to meet the needs and constraints of the clients and each other. Students will have access to variety of tools to design and manufacture prototypes, sculpture, and architecture models, which will also allow them to take on international competitions. Students will be able to generate industry level works using Rhino, Revit, and the Adobe Creative suite. The course will also cover design management and strategy and introduce students to entrepreneurship in the design industry.

IBSL VISUAL ART YEAR 1 (UART30)
IBSL VISUAL ART YEAR 2 (UART301)

IBHL VISUAL ART YEAR 1 (UART31)
IBHL VISUAL ART YEAR 2 (UART310)

Honors

Duration: 2 years

Credit: 1

Grade: 11-12

Prerequisite: Visual Art 1, Visual Art 2 (highly recommended), or by permission of instructor

Homework: Heavy

IB Visual Art is a 2-year commitment, which requires endurance, a strong commitment to growth and continual self-improvement, critical awareness, and an eagerness to connect images and ideas. Throughout the course, students develop independent research skills while making a variety of artwork that is personally meaningful and form the basis of a cohesive body of work. Students maintain a process journal that demonstrates cultural understanding, creative problem solving skills, idea development and reflections on their artistic successes and failures. In addition, students explore a variety of artist references on which to draw inspiration, as well as to learn how to critically analyze works of art. Artworks will be showcased through a digital portfolio by maintaining a web gallery and blog. At the end of junior year, students will have the necessary artwork needed for a college portfolio. At the end of the two years, students will showcase a selection of their artwork in the IB Art Exhibition. Students will also enter artwork into competitions such as IASAS Art, YoungArts, and the Scholastics Art and Writing Awards. Extra expenses related to this course include: the IB registration fee, matting and presentation costs, and tools or materials beyond what is available in the Art Department.

AP ART HISTORY (UART32)

 

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grade: 10-12

Prerequisite: None

Homework: Heavy

In the AP History of Art course, students are invited to discover the diversity of and connections among global artistic traditions. Students interact with different types of art, observing and analyzing relationships of form, function, content, and context through their reading, discussion, research, and writing. Using 250 representative works of art spanning prehistory to the present comprise the course content, students will study functions and effects of art and consider influential forces like belief, class, gender, ethnicity, patronage, and politics in their critical analyses of art forms. They will investigate how humans respond to the world and communicate their experiences through art making by examining chronology, styles, techniques, and themes to compare, contrast, and interpret art forms from varied perspectives and cultures. Students should be proficient in reading and writing. The AP Art History course is an elective credit class, meaning that it does not meet the graduation requirement for fine arts.

 

AP STUDIO ART (DRAWING) (UART330)
AP STUDIO ART (2D DESIGN) (UART33)

 

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grade: 10-12

Prerequisite: Visual Arts, or by permission of instructor

Homework: Heavy

AP Studio Art is a college-level course offered to sophomores, juniors and/ or seniors. Students may enroll for multiple years, producing one portfolio each year they are enrolled: Drawing or 2-D Design. AP Studio Art students must be prepared to do a significant amount of work outside of regular class time either after school, during free periods, and/or at home. A minimum of 24 exceptional pieces of art are required to complete each portfolio. The teacher and student work closely to develop the portfolio, but the student needs to be able to work independently and remain on task in order to be successful. Student work is assessed based on the AP rubric and as to whether it reflects college-level thinking in terms of the use of composition, cohesion, use of class-time, craftsmanship, and creative solutions. Extra expenses related to this course include: the AP registration fee, matting and presentation costs, and tools or materials beyond the “normal” range available in the Art Department. The following are brief descriptions of the three portfolio options:

Drawing Portfolio: The Drawing Portfolio students demonstrate mastery of light and shade, line quality, rendering of form, composition, surface manipulation, and illusion of depth, these drawing issues can be addressed through a variety of means, which could include painting, printmaking, and mixed media.

2-D Design Portfolio: The 2-D Design students demonstrate mastery of two-dimensional medium or process including: graphic design, digital imaging, photography, collage, fabric design, weaving, illustration, painting, and printmaking.

AP STUDIO ART (3D DESIGN) (UART331)

 

Duration: 1 year

Credit: 1

Grades: 10-12

Prerequisite: Visual Arts, Ceramics 2, Architecture, or by permission of instructor

Homework: Heavy

AP Studio Art (3D Design) is a natural progression for those who have already completed Ceramics 2, Architecture, and/or Product Design. This course allows students interested in working dimensionally the opportunity to explore structural and sculptural concepts. Students will create a portfolio that addresses broad sculptural concerns. Students will utilize 3D printers (both clay and plastic), the laser cutter, and CNC paper cutter to solve visual problems that directly solve or address the integration of depth and space, volume and surface. Students need to demonstrate their knowledge of and ability to use the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.

3-D Design portfolio students demonstrate an understanding of 3-D design through many approaches, such as additive, subtractive, and relief. Students will investigate forms that are figurative or non-figurative, sculpture, architectural models, metal work, ceramics, glass work, installation, performance, assemblage, and 3-D fabric/fiber arts.