TASA Conference Kick Off

The TASA conference kicked off with a reception at the Museum of the Big Bend on Sul Ross Campus. Finger foods, wine and “locally produced beer” donated by the Big Bend Brewing co. was served and the museum curatorial staff mingled with the group.  The exhibit “Big Bend Legacy” greeted TASA members as they entered the Museum of the Big Bend. The “Big Bend Legacy” is housed in the main part of the museum displays the distinctive natural history, human history and confluence of cultures in the Big Bend region. Beginning with the Native Americans, who inhabited the area for thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans, the Spanish, through their system of missions and presidios, imprinted their customs on the region only to be replaced by the nation of Mexico. and the westward expansion of the United States brought a unique culture to the Big Bend.  In the Main Gallery of the Museum was the Ken Ratner Western Art Collection, A Feeling of Humanity, an exhibition features 70 works by both contemporary artists along with works by early 20th century painters. The reception ran from 5:30 – 7:30 and was followed by a relaxed party at the Studio of Carol Fairlie, in downtown Alpine.

Highlights from Chinati Weekend Marfa Gallery Tour

Kruger Gallery
Artist: Rodrigo Lara Zendejas

Inspired by the Xin Dynasty terra cotta warriors and motivated by the threat of presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposed wall, Lara constructed a life-size army of ceramic mariachi warriors bearing the likeness of immigrants who have crossed the border by foot. The Xoloitzcuintli, a sacred dog of the Aztecs, protects the double-faced soldiers, who are facing toward a new life yet simultaneously looking back to their homeland.  This exhibition was created specifically for Marfa where the majority of boarder patrol agents call home.

A  miniature modern day Xoloitzcuintli

Marfa Ballroom is featuring AFI which is an international collaboration organized by Whitechapel Gallery, London, that showcases emerging artists working in video and animation.

The Ballroom has supported the production of Ditherer, a newly commissioned virtual reality experience from the Institute. This project will use a HTC Vive VR headset to transport users into an infinite warehouse that features an assortment of products for sale and anticipates surreal, near-future shopping. IfNf is working with 3D artist Gary Tyler to create an experience that is both a commercial trap and an escapist fantasy. This installation will be hosted alongside the IfNf (newly-commissioned work from artist collective the Institute for New Feeling) video, objects from the Institute’s product line, and the other AFI 2016 international selections.

TASA member, Lisa Ehrich, Brookhaven College at Marfa Ballroom

Out and About

West, Far West: Lubbock / Marfa

This wonderful show in a very raw space showed off a collaborative spirit and great innovation with Texas Tech students, faculty and alumni

Hotel Paisano Atrium Gallery

Time Ghost

Eugene Binder Gallery: Frozen Territory

These magnificent paintings are reminiscent of Barnett Newman, Josef Albers and Ellsworth Kelly dashed with inventive minimalistic compositions and forms marked with vibrant red orange. Kremer, born 1971, is interested in a term “Art Scrub”, a photoshop technique where you can erase an image within the space. His paintings are magnificently aware of both the negative space within the paintings and how the paintings collectively work with each other and the gallery space. A powerful visual sensation is the result of this precision.

He was the founder of the ILYB (I Love you Baby) artist collective in Houston and owned two design studios called the Speared Peanut and Oilpan (currently).


Painter Paul Kremer: Paintings are acrylic on canvas

Mary Shaffer Studios
Glass and sculptural objects

These sculptural objects were spectacularly ethereal.

The Wrong Store and Gallery

Owned by artists Buck Johnson and Camp Bosworth
Unusual art objects and gallery artists

Hand carved door and gallery attached to the oldest cathedral in Marfa

Big Bend Museum at Sul Ross University

One Foot Exhibition

Gallery Greasewood, Hotel Paisano

Juror: Ellie Meyer holds Texas K-12 art teacher certification and BFA, MA and MBA degrees.  She taught business, art and art history courses at the University level as well as art to elementary and junior/senior high school students for 15+ years. Meyer has been active in fund-raising, development, and program planning in the non-profit sector serving on the Board of Directors of several and Executive Director of not-for-profit organizations in both New York City and Marfa, Texas where she currently lives.  Prior to becoming Director of Akira Ikeda Gallery in NYC 1993-95 she worked for artist Donald Judd for eight years.  She joined the Judd Foundation in September 2015 as Catalogue Raisonné Research Manager. 

Juror: Ellie Meyer

Juror: Ellie Meyer

Core Curriculum Panel Discussion - TASA 2016

Panelists: Mark Greenwalt, College of the Mainland; Rebecca Dietz, San Antonio College; Amorette Garza, Del Mar College; Lisa Ehrich, Brookhaven College/DCCCD

  • During this session the following topics were discussed:
  • Current status of art education in the general education core curriculum
  • TASA’s initiative to develop 3 new courses for the core
  • THECB’s intent (via the ACGM) to delete 7 second - semester sophomore level studios
  • The DCCCD’s Art Curriculum Committee update on their appeal to removal of these courses
  • TASA’s efforts to support the appeal and strategies moving forward

CORE Issues

As we know, the 2014 Core eliminated studio art classes from the options of classes students could take. Although a few Community Colleges were initially successful in their efforts to restore some of the studio classes, recently, the THECB rejected these studio classes (again) from the Core because they have determined “while the activities themselves are important, the courses do not fulfill the purpose of the Texas Core Curriculum.”

Most art faculty understand and agree that there is great value in meeting the goals of the core objectives in the “Creative Arts” category through courses in the studio arts. TASA is, therefore, investigating the possibility of developing 3 new Art Appreciation courses that unite appreciation content with studio media. Preliminary communication with the THECB is underway to clear the path for this proposal.

TASA Proposal: Appoint a curriculum committee to review, edit and/or develop current course learning outcomes for the existing ARTS 1325, Drawing and Painting for non-majors to include and require the traditional lecture based content an analysis found in art appreciation and art history courses. The curriculum committee would also develop the course description and course learning outcomes for two new art courses (Ceramics and Sculpture for non-majors and Digital Art and Photography for non-art majors) to require the traditional lecture based content and analysis found in art appreciation and art history courses. All of these courses proposals would then be sent to the Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee (UEAC) for discussion edits and approval.

Other ideas were discussed as:

  • Utilizing ARTS 1313 Foundations in Art (for non-art majors) as a Core class
  • Developing a 3000 level portfolio class that Community Colleges could teach for those students preparing to transfer

ACGM issues

Last fall 2015, most of us returned from the summer break only to find out that the THECB had posted seven studio courses that were scheduled for deletion from the course inventory of Texas Community Colleges for Spring 2017.

ARTS 2324Life Drawing II               ARTS 2349Digital Art II

ARTS 2327Sculpture II                       ARTS 2367Watercolor II

ARTS 2334Printmaking II                  ARTS 2336Fiber Arts II

ARTS 2342Art Metals II

The two-year gap between the announcement and the deletion was, according to the Academic Course Guide Manual (ACGM) Advisory Committee, intended to give colleges a chance to respond, appeal, and/or make adjustments to their schedules. Realizing the negative consequences of such actions, the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Art Curriculum Committee decided to follow the appeal process outlined by the ACGM.

Summary and timeline of the DCCCD actions:

September 2015 –DCCCD Curriculum Committee begins work following the ACGM guidelines.

March 2016 - DCCCD Curriculum Committee submits the appeal to the ACGM.

April 2016 – ACGM representative, Rebecca Leslie, responds that the appeal is incomplete and will require additional information, but fails to be specific.

August 2016 – Rebecca Leslie notifies DCCCD Curriculum Committee that they have posted a new form (in February ’16 without informing anyone) need to resubmit using the new form.

October 2016 – Conference call with Rebecca Leslie and DCCCD Art Curriculum co-chairs clarifying the necessary additional information.

November 17, 2016 – DCCCD reps plan to attend the ACGM Advisory Committee fall public meeting in Austin.

December 2016 – DCCCD Art Curriculum Committee intend to resubmit the appeal on the new forms.

May 3, 2017 – DCCCD reps plan to attend the ACGM Advisory Committee spring public meeting in Austin.

In short, the new form requests not only the letters of support from at least 5 state universities that they will receive each of these courses as transferable credit, but also evidence that these courses specifically fit into a degree plan. Additionally, they want this information signed by the Chair or Dean of the Art Department and the Provost or Chief Academic Officer of that university.

The rational for these course deletions, according to Rebecca Leslie, is to facilitate students transferring as quickly as possible to the university and not waste time taking extra classes at the community colleges. When asked about the impact on students who may only get an Associates Degree as a terminal degree, or students transferring to private universities, or students who are in articulations that require these classes, or students who need more preparation prior to transferring, or NASAD standards, she was disinterested. She stated that the ACGM Advisory Committee is only concerned with issues that impact the transfer curriculum.

TASA support:

  • Carol Fairlie, TASA president wrote a letter of support for the 1st appeal submission.
  • TASA representatives plan to attend fall and spring ACGM Advisory Meetings.
  • 2 and 4 year institutions will work together on articulations or 2 + 2 agreements.
  • Universities will help facilitate completion of new forms.
  • Other community colleges will launch the appeal process.

DCCCD appeal documents:

Curriculum Letter Nov 1, 2016
Texas 60x30 talking points
Brookhaven Sculpture II Syllabus 
Texas Tech Sculpture II Syllabus    


The Lost Colony: 1921-1950 - Texas Regionalist Paintings

In the early part of October 2016 at the T.A.S.A. Conference, I attended a lecture by Mary Bones the Curator & Collection Manager, Museum of the Big Bend. She dives right into a part of Texas Art/Artist history I was unaware of. I found this talk to be informative and leaving me with more questions than answers. Such as are there more Lost Colonies of artist and creators still not being talked about in Texas or am I just unaware of Texas based Art history and its contributors.? This lecture sparks the imagination and makes one wonder if on some level it was easier to be an artist in an earlier time. I am attaching a link to a shortened version of this talk. I think you will find it interesting and that it will spark your curiosity about Texas and Texas artist.

 The Lost Colony


Digital Sketching with Elizabeth A. Yarosz-Ash

By Joe Peña, Assistant Professor of Art, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi

Elizabeth A. Yarosz-Ash, Professor of Art and 1991 Hardin Foundation Distinguished Professor at the Juanita and Ralph Harvey School of Visual Arts at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX.

An established and prolific artist in her own right, Yarosz-Ash presented an intriguing seminar on Digital Sketching in the drawing classroom using iPads and sketching software in lieu of traditional materials.

Beginning with an introduction on examples of digital drawings created by the artist David Hockney on his iPhone, Yarosz-Ash then discussed how she organized and presented her concept for the course to the administration, subsequently receiving funding to continue.  She then proceeded to explain how she planned the course following a similar structure of a traditional drawing class and included examples of student work before the use of the new media.  She then discussed the various software apps she experimented with, including Brushes, Redux, Zen Brush, and Adobe Photoshop Sketch, as well as multiple touchscreen tools including the iPencil and the Sensu Brush with those I have mentioned as being successful for the purpose of the class.

Yarosz-Ash further explained the numerous strengths in the use of the iPads as opposed to traditional media which included students’ incentive to take risk considering the ease of erasing unwanted areas of the drawing, and then reverting to the previous drawing after deletion, as well as the ability of some of the sketch programs to record the progression of a drawing and replaying them in front of the classroom during critiques.  A handy tool indeed considering we only see the final work from most assignments. 

Yarosz-Ash then discussed the initial difficulties of enlarging the digital drawings with resulting pixilation but that the use of the software Blow Up by the company Alien Skin allows images to be increased for printing while retaining high resolution. She also spoke about which paper was best suited for printing the digital drawings on (Strathmore Printmaking Paper – 189 lb., followed by Strathmore Drawing Paper- 80 lb.)  and the preparation of the paper using digital ground medium and acrylic gesso.

Lastly, Yarosz-Ash showcased the resulting student drawings both on screen and on a table (printed and framed) after the intensive course which were impressive to say the least. She continued by stating that she invited an artist to serve as a juror to place the drawings who was not aware of their digital origins and expressing disbelief after the judging.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Mrs. Elizabeth Yarosz-Ash on a successful course experimentation (and presentation), having attempted to run a similar project in my painting courses to no avail due to funding. However I do question the necessity of fooling the invited juror as a means of validifying the use of the new media.  Perhaps it wasn’t her intent to downplay that they were digital drawings or perhaps I misinterpreted, but personally I feel digitally created work has earned the right to stand alone on its own merit especially with the amount of stunning work being created in this day and age.

Texas Rock Art and Education

TASA Conference 2016 Review:

Texas Rock Art and Education, Andrew Tegarden, University of Arizona

Watercolor by Forrest Kirkland, 1934, depicting pictographs along stratified limestone layers at Paint Rock, Concho County, Texas, 41CC1 (Kirkland & Newcomb, 1996, plate 104, courtesy of Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin, TMM 2261-103).

Watercolor by Forrest Kirkland, 1934, depicting pictographs along stratified limestone layers at Paint Rock, Concho County, Texas, 41CC1 (Kirkland & Newcomb, 1996, plate 104, courtesy of Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin, TMM 2261-103).

Author Note

Andrew Tegarden, Department of Art and Visual Culture Education, University of Arizona, Tucson.

Andrew Tegarden has taught with various schools and programs in New Mexico and Texas, including at Sul Ross State University, teaching art history, art appreciation, and art education.  He is currently working on a Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in art education.  Rock art is a major topic of research for him, both art historically and in terms of its prospects for students.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Andrew Tegarden, 2865 E. Sylvia St., Tucson, AZ85716.  Contact:  ategarden@email.arizona.edu

TASA Conference 2016 Review:  Texas Rock Art and Education

The attendees had to do a fair amount of driving to get to Alpine, Texas, but the annual TASA conference this year hosted by Sul Ross State University was an exciting one.  Along with the art administration-specific discussions and TASA work sessions, there were workshops on digital sketching and glass fusing, as well as a large dose of art history presentations and tours.  Art history talks filled a large portion of the Friday sessions, and the TASA conference included bus tours to the Chinati Foundation Open House and the rest of Marfa, where artist Donald Judd kept a residence and established permanent installations.  The conference was a chance to take stock of a wide range of contemporary, historic, and ancient art in far-west Texas. 

On the ancient end of things, I presented on Texas rock art and its educational opportunities.  It stands to reason that where there’s rock—canyons, boulders, and geologic outcrops—there’s rock art, and the western half of the state has a lot of both.  The rock art in Texas, like Texas itself, is unique and convoluted.  The first half of my presentation focused on a short survey of rock art regions in Texas and publicly accessible rock art sites.  Hueco Tanks State Park, Big Bend National Park, Seminole Canyon State Park, Paint Rock in Central Texas (privately owned but accessible by special permission), and Palo Duro Canyon State Park all have rock art sites that can be visited by school groups.

The second half of the presentation focused more specifically on educational approaches.  Most of the audience was studio professors, and I thought it would be useful to talk about how rock art was made.  It’s basically taboo to make rock art today, except maybe for graffiti artists, but it’s interesting how rock art can represent a do-it-yourself process and aesthetic.  We looked at how rock art was applied and how brushes, pigments, and binders were made prehistorically (see Wright, 2016, and Malotki, 2007).  I’ve always been intrigued by rock art because it creates a direct connection for the artist between the materials and the art.  The ‘making’ is pure, and for us today, it’s an example of a stark alternative to buying supplies and selling art as a commodity. 

The presentation also brought up various art education pedagogies that can be employed by educators, either in lecture format or during field trips.  I emphasized place-based, environment- and community-engaged, and post-colonial education.  Place-based education is grounded in the resources, issues, and values of the local community and environment, and uses place and geography as integrating contexts (see Powers, 2004, and Coutts & Jokela, 2008).  Ecological and social thinking are activated together in place-based education.  Fieldtrips are opportunities to get different places and different voices involved in education.  I’ve seen rock art site visits become transformative experiences for students in part because it gets them out of the classroom and studio, out of the urban environment, and into different terrains.

We also talked about a more difficult set of issues related to Texas rock art, like colonialism, cross-cultural conflict, land rights, and heritage.  This range of socially-important issues can be put into a unique focus with rock art, and post-colonial pedagogy offers practical ways of dealing with it.  One way to do this is to bring in voices in equitable ways from the Native American, Mexican-American, and rancher communities—all people involved with the heritage of rock art sites.  It’s a way to counter-balance viewpoints so no single worldview dominates.  This is important because it acknowledges that colonial mindsets still exist, and the colonial hold on knowledge still needs loosening (Sefa Dei & Doyle-Wood, 2006).  Another acknowledgment is that archaeological research and education can sometimes be exploitive of cultural resources.  The aim of post-colonial education is to offer a critical look that helps to give the discussion depth.  Other methods include talking about instances of resistance (like Comanche raids against the Spanish, or Apache hold-outs in the Big Bend), Native American diaspora and the history of the border and immigration, and cultural hybridity (like Indian cowboys, buffalo soldiers, and Christianity in Native American communities) (Kanu, 2006, Kincheloe, 2006, and Sefa Dei & Doyle-Wood, 2006).  Rock art in Texas offers a visual and place-based context for all of this. 

The talk generated a good audience discussion at the end.  It was one of the earliest presentations on the docket the morning after everyone’s long trip out to Alpine, so I think the coffee must have helped the discussion along.  It makes me think that we should have pots of coffee at every early class we teach, especially if it involves art history.  As an aside, included here is a short list of rock art research institutions in Texas.  If you or any of your students are interested, these are good places to go to get involved or learn more…besides the rock art sites themselves, of course.

Institutions in Texas that Research Rock Art:

Center for Big Bend Studies, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas

Sul Ross State University Fine Arts and Communication Department, Alpine, Texas

Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center, Comstock, Texas

Rock Art Foundation, San Antonio, Texas

Regional and county archeological societies


Coutts, G., & Jokela, T. (2008). Art, Community and Environment:  Educational Perspectives. Bristol and Chicago: Intellect Books, The Mill, Parnall Road, Fishponds, The University of Chicago Press.

Kanu, Y. (2006). Reappropriating Traditions in Postcolonial Curricular Imagination. In Y. Kanu (Ed.), Curriculum as Cultural Practice:  Postcolonial Imaginations (pp. 203–222). Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press.

Kincheloe, J. L. (2006). Critical Ontology and Indigenous Ways of Being:  Forging a Postcolonial Curriculum. In Curriculum as Cultural Practice:  Postcolonial Imaginations (pp. 181–202). Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press.

Kirkland, F., & Newcomb, Jr., W. W. (1996). The Rock Art of Texas Indians (1996 reissue). Austin: University of Texas Press.

Malotki, E. (2007). The Rock Art of Arizona. Walnut, CA: Kiva Publishing.

Powers, A. (2004). An evaluation of four place-based education programs. Journal of Environmental Education, 35(4), 17–32.

Sefa Dei, G. J., & Doyle-Wood, S. (2006). Is We Who Haffi Ride Di Staam:  Critical Knowledge/Multiple Knowings - Possibilities, Challenges, and Resistance in Curriculum/Cultural Contexts. In Y. Kanu (Ed.), Curriculum as Cultural Practice:  Postcolonial Imaginations (pp. 151–180). Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press.

Wright, A. M. (2016). How Did People Make Rock Art. Archaeology Southwest Magazine, 30(2), 12.