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Writing Program


Why do visual artists write? Writing stories, novels, scripts, plays, poems, biographies, art reviews, memoirs, essays and blogs are ways to discover who we are, what truly moves us, and to communicate our discoveries to others. Word and image share a long and rich history. Visual artists train to develop a visual language, and much visual work is developed in dialogue with written language, through storyboards, film and photo shoot scripts, short or extended narrative essays, advertising and design contracts or your own blog and website. Writing and visual art are natural companions that inform each other brilliantly.

Our writing concentration can be a valuable addition to your art studies, expanding your creative skills in fresh, unexpected directions. Our faculty, all professional writers, recognize that writing is a calling and a challenge. It is our mission to enable you to develop your talent, hone your craft and take the plunge into exploring alternative modes of creative expression: language as a creative tool.

The Writing Program offers both critical and creative writing courses. The critical writing courses embed writing in specific topics, ranging from popular culture to digital media. Our creative writing courses include journal writing, storytelling, writing for multimedia performance as well as experimental courses that will give you a real writing workout. We are also pleased to offer two summer, SVA Destination courses: HWD-2392-Writing Visual Culture in Cambridge, England and HWD-3344-A Writing in the Land of Enchantment in Taos, New Mexico.

These writing courses are open to all SVA students, whether or not you wish to commit yourself to the Writing Program. All writing courses (HWD prefix) are Humanities and Sciences electives. If you decide not to pursue the concentration to the final creative statement – that of making a portfolio of your work – the courses will still help fulfill the required number of elective Humanities and Sciences credits.

The Writing Program is a 15credit non-degree concentration, nestled within the requirements of the Humanities and Sciences department. In the Writing Program, students choose critical or creative writing courses culminating in the creation of a writer’s portfolio.

After taking HCD-1020, Writing and Literature I, and passing the Proficiency Exam, second semester students may begin their course of study in the Writing Program by taking any of the critical writing courses (courses numbered HWD-2000 through HWD-2999) instead of HCD-1025, Writing and Literature II. Students may take a critical writing class in their second year as well, or at any time before they take the Portfolio, HWD-3990.

15 Credit Writing Program:

  • First year, second semester: substitute one critical writing course (courses numbered HWD-2000 through HWD-2099) for HCD-1025, Writing and Literature II. This completes your critical writing requirement.  Note: If you do not substitute a critical writing course for HCD-1025, you must still take one critical writing course before you take HWD-3990, Portfolio. [3 credits]
  • Second year: two HWD courses, critical or creative [6 credits]
  • Third year: one HWD course, critical or creative, and HWD-3990, Writing Portfolio [6 credits]

Required courses: There are two required courses in the program:  one critical writing course (HWD-2000 - HWD-2999) and HWD-3990, Portfolio.

Exemption: Upon successful completion of the Writing Program, students will have fulfilled the Humanities Distribution Requirement (HDR) in Literature.

To view student work, visit the H&S department’s e-zine, The Match Factory edited by Writing Program faculty member, Edwin Rivera and pick up a copy of WORDS, the H&S literary print magazine, edited by faculty member, Louis Phillips.

COURSES for 2018-2019

Critical Writing Courses:

HWD-2000  Writing About Art  (Fridays, 3:20-6:10, spring semester, instructor: E. Rivera)                                                     

HWD-2103  Everybody’s a Critic: Writing About Pop Culture  (Tuesdays, 12:10-3:00, spring semester, instructor: B. Altman)

HWD-2271  Images, Writing and Criticism (Tuesdays, 3:20-6:10, spring semester, instructor: R. Leslie)

HWD-2323 How to Think and Write About Comics (Mondays, 6:30-9:20, spring semester, instructor: T. Hodler)

HWD-2256 Words in Action: The Play's the Thing (Wednesdays, 3:20-6:10, spring semester, instructor: S. Mosakowski)

HWD-2364 Becoming a Digital Critic (Mondays 6:30-9:10, fall semester, instructor: M. Horan)

HWD-2364 Becoming a Digital Critic (Tuesdays 9:00-11:50, spring semester, instructor: M. Horan)

HWD-2376 Leaving/Returning Home: Narratives of Migration (Thursday, 3:20-6:10 spring semester, instructor: I. Deconinck)

HWD-2379 Writing About Film: Every Movie Has a Slang (Friday, 9:00-11:50 spring semester, instructor: S. Robinson)


Creative Writing Courses:

HWD-3001  Writing Beat (Wednesdays, 12:10-3:00, fall semester, instructor: R. Weinreich)

HWD-3002  Restructuring the Narrative (Wednesdays, 12:10-3:00, spring semester, instructor: R. Weinreich)

HWD-3014  Storytelling and Narrative Art (Wednesdays, 12:10-3:00, fall semester, instructor: M. Grisanti)

HWD-3016  Immersive Storytelling (Wednesdays, 12:10-3:00, spring semester, instructor: M. Grisanti)

HWD-3111  Crafting Non-Fiction (Thursdays, 12:10-3:00, spring semester, instructor: R. Weinreich)

HWD-3223  Artists Write the Fantastic (Wednesdays, 3:20-6:10 fall semester, instructor: C. Stine)

HWD-3236  The Art of Words  (Tuesdays, 12:10-3:00, spring semester, instructor: V. MacKenzie)

HWD-3244  Journals: Yours and Theirs (Thursdays, 3:20-6:10, fall semester, instructor: A. Rower)

HWD-3245  Art of the Journal/Journal as Art (Thursdays, 3:20-6:10, spring semester, instructor: A. Rower)

HWD-3261  Visuality in Poetry (Mondays, 6:30-9:20, fall semester, instructor: G. Donovan)

HWD-3262  Visual Poetics (Thursdays, 6:30-9:20, spring semester, instructor: A. Vitale)

HWD-3354 The Digital Experience (Wednesdays, 6:30-9:20, spring semester, instructor: N. Schiff)

HWD-3552  Writing, Multimedia and Performance (Wednesdays, 3:20-6:10 spring semester, instructor: D. Singer)

HWD-3567  Writing the Chapbook (Wednesdays, 3:20-6:20, spring semester, instructor: D. Singer)

HWD-3900  Writing Portfolio

SVA Destinations 2018 summer writing program courses:

Critical Writing:  HWD-2382-A Writing Visual Culture, Cambridge, England (July 22- August 5, 2018) instructor: K. Miyabe. For more information visit: http://destinations.sva.edu/cambridge/ or email: [email protected] 

Creative Writing: HWD-3344-A Writing in the Land of Enchantment, Taos, New Mexico (June 2 -16, 2018) instructors: D Singer and I. Deconinck.  For more informtion visit: http://destinations.sva.edu/taos/ or email: [email protected]

If you are interested in the Writing Program, please contact Dr. Maryhelen Hendricks [email protected]

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Nicoletti Piscitelli

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587