Art and Narrative in Response to Place


Spring 2014 quarter

Taught by

literature, writing, storytelling
visual arts, creative writing, poetry

How does place affect the worldview and visions of writers, poets, artists, storytellers, and filmmakers from diverse cultures in the Americas? How can we develop an ecological and ethical identity that shapes culture and place through creative and artistic practice? As we study art history, natural history, and the natural world, we will use these questions to explore our connections to the earth and place through analysis and creation of poems, essays, and multimedia art projects. Through observations of the natural world, we will cultivate our ability to heighten sensory perceptions and gain insights that feed metaphors, images, and imagination.  As we examine the way in which our relationships to words, images, myths, cultural teachings, stories, and the arts enhance our understanding, we will reflect on the strategies we need to address environmental education, activism, and the ecological challenges and health of our planet.

Readings include essays by American Transcendentalists like Thoreau, Emerson, and Fuller, and natural history writers and eco-poets such as Leslie Marmon Silko, Terry Tempest Williams, Linda Hogan, Alice Walker, Mary Austin, John Muir, Rachel Carson, Gary Snyder, David Abrahm, Pablo Neruda, Eric Chock, and other diverse writers.   Field trips and workshops include hikes, natural history observations, writing, a trip to Mt Rainier, and visits to museums, cultural, and arts events like the “Procession of the Species,” and the “Cascadia Poetry Festival.” We will work to develop practices of close observation of the natural world to fuel creativity. The quarter’s work will include the creation of art, poetry, personal essay, and a creative journal that allows us to refine our observations of local places, and to sketch and develop concepts for use in our artistic practice.   Students of different skill levels will work on improving their writing and editing abilities so they can write and work towards publication.  They will create multimedia art installations on campus and in the community, submitting proposals for one individual art project, and one group collaborative artistic project, and preparing the works for public presentation by the end of Spring quarter.

Assignments:  Writing includes a personal essay about place, a series of ten poems, and a creative journal.  Art includes an individual multimedia installation and a group multimedia installation. Each student is responsible for presenting one of the projects on which they worked, in a community setting.


Note: This class was formerly called Creativity and Diversity in American Culture: Art and Narrative in Response to Place.  You can review fall and winter quarters at:

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

writing, literature, cultural studies and sustainability studies.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: Field Trips: Friday April 25th, “Arts Walk; Saturday April 26th, “Procession of Species;” Saturday, May 3, "Cascadia Poetry Festival"; Tuesday, May 20th, trip to Mount Rainer


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$150 for entrance fees, field trips and workshops.


Date Revision
February 28th, 2014 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 48


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 30444
So - Sr (16 credits): 30447
(1-16 credits): 30490

Go to to register for this program.

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