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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 15 credit 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. [3 credits]  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. 
  • 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 publication, edited by faculty member, Louis Phillips.

COURSES for 2019-2020

Critical Writing Courses:

HWD-2000  Writing About Art, instructor: E. Rivera                                                    

HWD-2103  Everybody’s a Critic: Writing About Pop Culture, instructor: B. Altman

HWD-2271  Images, Writing and Criticism, instructor: R. Leslie

HWD-2323 How to Think and Write About Comics, instructor: T. Hodler

HWD-2353 Writing Visual Culture in New York City, instructor: K. Miyabe

HWD-2256 Words in Action: The Play's the Thing, instructor: S. Mosakowski

HWD-2364 Becoming a Digital Critic, instructor: M. Horan

HWD-2376 Leaving/Returning Home: Narratives of Migration, instructor: I. Deconinck

HWD-2379 Writing About Film: Every Movie Has a Slang, instructor: S. Robinson


Creative Writing Courses:

HWD-3001  Writing Beat, instructor: R. Weinreich

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

HWD-3014  Storytelling and Narrative Art, instructor: M. Grisanti

HWD-3016  Immersive Storytelling, instructor: M. Grisanti

HWD-3111  Crafting Non-Fiction, instructor: R. Weinreich

HWD-3223  Artists Write the Fantastic, instructor: C. Stine

HWD-3236  The Art of Words, instructor: V. MacKenzie

HWD-3244  Journals: Yours and Theirs, instructor: A. Rower

HWD-3245  Art of the Journal/Journal as Art, instructor: A. Rower

HWD-3261  Visuality in Poetry, instructor: G. Donovan

HWD-3262  Visual Poetics, instructor: A. Vitale

HWD-3354 The Digital Experience, instructor: N. Schiff

HWD-3552  Writing, Multimedia and Performance, instructor: D. Singer

HWD-3567  Writing the Chapbook, instructor: D. Singer

HWD-3900  Writing Portfolio

SVA Destinations 2019 summer writing program courses:

Critical Writing:  HWD-2382 Writing Visual Culture, Cambridge, England (July 14- July 28, 2019) instructor: K. Miyabe. For more information visit: or email: [email protected] 

Creative Writing: HWD-3344 Writing in the Land of Enchantment, Taos, New Mexico (June 1-15, 2019) instructors: D Singer and I. Deconinck.  For more information visit: or email: [email protected]

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

To View Student Projects

please click on the name

Nicoletti Piscitelli

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