Art programs at Housatonic Community College being expanded

Written by Brandon T. Bisceglia, Bridgeport
Monday, 25 January 2010 19:23

Professor John Favret, program coordinator for Housatonic Community College’s (HCC) art department since last fall, is aiming high for the future of his students.

Favret said he wants to “establish our school as the best community college in the area for the arts and computer graphics.”

He’s hardly starting from scratch. Housatonic has long boasted the largest art collection of any two-year college in the country, largely due the efforts of the late Burt Chernow, who once had Favret’s job.

And HCC already offers more than 20 different courses on art-related subjects, including advanced digital photography, digital video editing, and ceramic handbuilding.

Favret is working to expand the curriculum by offering more advanced courses, and by increasing the basic courses being taught. This, he said, would better serve the variety of students who come to HCC to learn about art.

“We get a wide mix of people,” Favret said. “Some are at the introductory level, but others are more advanced. Some students don’t plan to go to a four-year school, so they want to get everything they can with their associate [degree]. At the same time, we try to make sure that everything is transferable.”

Housatonic has automatic transfer agreements with several four-year colleges and universities.

Even if a student chooses not to move on to another college, he or she can get sophisticated training through some of the HCC art classes.

In advanced digital photography, for instance, students produce a personal portfolio based on their own inspiration, using editing software programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom. They also learn about photographic aesthetics and the history of photography.

Digital video editing will be offered for the first time in the 2010 spring semester. Students will learn such things as editing and trimming, audio mixing, timeline, QuickTime movies, output to tape, and using filters and effects.

New classes that Favret would like to see at HCC include studio photography, sculpture II, and portrait painting.

Favret is hoping to sponsor visits by artists and lecturers, especially “to bring in artists who could give demonstrations of techniques not taught at the school.”

Additionally, his department has begun using professional models who have modeled at the Silvermine Art Guild and come highly recommended. “It will help to bring out the quality we want,” he said.

In the immediate term, Favret is revamping the art program to provide students with improved workspace; and bringing in top part-time instructors, some of whom come from the Rhode Island School of Design and Yale University.

Brandon T. Bisceglia is a journalism student and intern at Housatonic Community College.