Ceramic pieces and textile tapestry of the campus mascot at the sculpture area in the Fine Arts Building at SF State’s campus in San Francisco on July 3rd, 2023. (Ishaan Pratap / Golden Gate Xpress)
Ceramic pieces and textile tapestry of the campus mascot at the sculpture area in the Fine Arts Building at SF State’s campus in San Francisco on July 3rd, 2023. (Ishaan Pratap / Golden Gate Xpress)
Ishaan Pratap

Two SF State professors collaborate to create a social space for art students

ART 555 and 556 will be offered with the intent of creating a space and organizing a mini festival

Two San Francisco State University art professors are collaborating and utilizing their courses as a medium to create a social working space for students at the School of Art.

Sean McFarland and Michael Arcega, teaching ART 555 and 556 respectively, will simultaneously teach the courses. McFarland teaches ART 555, The Multiple and Distributed Art, and ART 556, the Art and Social Function course. They are different classes, but both professors want it to function with the intent of developing the sculpture area’s loading dock into a space where students can work, hang out, socialize, attend events, and so on.

Both professors will be structuring their courses in service of this space they plan on creating, hoping to eventually organize a small festival on campus. 

Arcega runs the sculpture area on campus and teaches ART 556. The course will be slightly different than in the previous years he has taught it. Usually the course has modules about contemporary sculpture practices, assignments with technical instructions, and functions as a seminar where students collaborate and participate in peer critique. However, this semester the course is now goal-oriented with a target of hosting a social space and a mini festival.

Arcega wants to structure the course in a way where even though professors are leading the course, students will have a lot of say in how the class operates. 

“Sean and I already have a plan of having a stage, having a workspace, having a social space, so when nothing’s happening people can come there, have lunch, hang out, have meetings, make work,” he said. “We also want to have events, maybe hosting performance art events, maybe a few bands playing and screening movies at night. The program will be essentially filled by all of us, the class and the professors.”

Both courses will be split into three sections – Planning, executing and hosting events – with the grand goal of making the festival happen. The course will have a mix of undergraduate students with some graduate students as well.

Kevin Lopez is a student at SFSU who is taking the ART 555 course for the first time. He spoke about his excitement for the class and what he expects from it.

“Art is [a] great way for people to connect and express themselves, creating these spaces for SFSU students and the art program as a whole is important,” Lopez said. “A major part of art making is making art but I also believe having a sense of community is just as crucial. I have no doubt that Professor Arcega and the class will definitely do a fantastic job in bringing this space to life!”

ART 555 and 556 currently have 12 slots open for enrollment in the class and have 2 sections – one from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

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Ishaan Pratap, Copy Editor
Ishaan Pratap (he/him) was born in New York and is a 4th year print and online journalism major at San Francisco State. In his free time he enjoys video games, hanging out with friends, and watching soccer. He joined the journalism program because he's passionate about social issues like housing and city politics.

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