Frequently Asked Questions - Please Read Before registering
What kind of projects do we do in the Field School?
Students create works that fall within the rubric of Locational Practice during the session. The daily location of the group is what feeds the context and content for individual projects. Students may explore many mediums including photography, sculpture, drawing, as well as post-studio practices including dialogical projects, land art, and collaborative actions. Collaboration is encouraged. In general projects are short, temporary, and experimental.
How do I register?
The easiest way to register is to access the course through MyCU. Search for the course by number (ARTS 4444 for undergraduates and ARTS 5444 for graduate students). Follow the instructions from there. See the Get Involved page for instructions if you are a CU non-degree student or a student from another university.
Does the Field School cost more than other courses?
No. The cost of the Field School is based on the in-state tuition rate at CU-Boulder and is $3,600 for six credits. This includes program fees which cover housing, evening meals, and travel within the session. Students are responsible for their own breakfast and lunch during the three weeks of field work.
What is the Field School daily schedule like?
The schedule varies from year to year and week to week. As an example, last year, week one and two, we lived and worked at the M12 Conejos Fieldwork Site at Rancho La Florida in Colorado’s lower San Luis Valley. Each day features new assignments based around the region including the sites near Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico. We take day trips, have evening lectures, and plan work days to focus on independent projects. An exhibition and potluck is usually held at the end of the session. During week three, we set off on the Western Excursion. We are together as a class on the road in two vans. We visit unique sites, discuss projects with curators and guest speakers, and visiting various regional museums and artist residencies.
Do I need a vehicle to participate? How does the transportation work?
Not necessarily, but students have found it helpful. You are allowed to drive to the fieldwork site for the first two weeks. We travel by van ONLY during week three.
What is the weather like at Rancho La Florida during the field school?
We are almost 8000 ft above sea level, so the weather is hot during the day, and cold at night. The San Luis Valley is the highest desert on the planet. Meaning strong sun all day, and as soon as the sun goes down, a blanket of cold is dropped over the valley. So bring warm clothes! Hats, winter coats and boots can be handy even though we are in early summer.
Are tools and material costs covered for my projects?
Basic tools are provided, however students are responsible for purchasing their own specific project materials and specialized tools. The Field School has a woodshop as well as a number of portable power tools, audio recording equipment, and cameras. A table saw, miter saw, band saw, drill press, drivers, drills, and a plethora of other tools are in the shop. We also have digital and DSLR cameras, printers, projectors, speakers, etc, for most multimedia purposes. We also have one Macbook and an archival photo printer that are shared-use.
Can I take this course if I’m not an artist or art major?
Absolutely. We highly encourage interdisciplinary activity. In the past we have had students take the session from disciplines such as Creative Writing, History, Western American Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology.
Can I do laundry during the first two weeks?
You sure can! We have a great tub system and top of the line clothesline for you to wash & hang your clothes in the breeze to dry. Simple and easy.
How does housing work and are the housing costs included?
Costs of housing are included in the course fee. For the first two weeks, we you will stay in canvas wall tents at the fieldwork site. During week three, we will stay at a variety of places including lodges, cabins, hotels, and bunkhouses.
What are the accommodations like?
We bunk up in large canvas wall tents, 3 people to a tent (mixed gender). If you aren't comfortable with this or have special accommodation needs, notify us before beginning the course. Each tent forms a team that, together, will cook dinner, get water, chop wood, and various other camp duties throughout the two weeks. Each tent has three cots, each equipped with a sleeping pad (bring your own sleeping bag and pillow - recommended -20º sleeping bag), a small wood stove and a LED lantern.
Do I need to pay for my own food? Where do we eat while traveling?
You will need to purchase food for breakfast and lunch. Things like oatmeal or yogurt or eggs. (There is a full kitchen available for you to use.) And granola bars, sandwich materials, etc. for lunch. We will have group meals as much as possible and are frequently joined by guest lecturers during meal times. There is one grocery store in Antonito. You can buy your food there, but it is a small grocery store, so if you have dietary restrictions you probably should shop in Boulder before starting the session. There is also a Safeway in Alamosa (30 miles) that has a good selection of food options.
What happens if I have an emergency?
Emergency contact information is kept on hand while traveling and we keep a record at the Art and Art History office at CU main campus. You will be given a form to fill out and turn in once registered. You are required to have active insurance and have the form on file at the AAH office prior to leaving for the fieldwork session. The Conejos County Hospital is 15 miles North of Antonito via HWY 285. 911 services are available.
Will I have WI-FI and cell phone service while participating in the Field School?
The field site does NOT provide WI-FI. If you have a hotspot on your cell phone, that works great. However, cell phone reception is not always the best in rural and remote areas. Be prepared to not have 24 hr access for cell phone service.
How does the class work after the 3-weeks of fieldwork?
Following the three weeks of fieldwork there are three weeks of online assignments that need to be turned in. These include a research and reflection paper along with submitting photographs from the session and a final course portfolio.
How is my grade determined in the Field School?
Grades for the field school follow CU course grading protocol. Individual faculty grading policies are found in the course syllabus.
Should I be concerned about wildlife?
The sang usually rings true, if you leave them alone, they leave you alone. But sometimes, critters are hard to avoid out here. There is a vast range of wildlife in the region from small lizards to large elk. For the most part you’ll not be of concern to them or them to you. We ask you to be respectful and aware.
What should I pack?
Once you are registered for the Field School you’ll receive a packing list. You should not have to buy a bunch of gear but you will need some basic things like sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen and a good water bottle.
Can I “tag along” with the Field School for no credit and no cost?
Unfortunately, no. It’s not that we wouldn’t like your company, but everyone attending the session must be properly registered.