GNED 2340 CREATIVE THINKING & ARTISTIC PROCESS                            SPRING 2009
Steve Gilliam, Professor                                    Office: 999-8587
RTT 118 (by the scene shop)                                                           Studio: 494-7373 or

OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday & Thursday 3:30-5:30 & by appointment. To schedule a meeting outside office hours, please e-mail or speak with Professor Gilliam in advance. M, W, F 8am - Noon, Professor Gilliam has Studio Hours. You may reach him by calling 494-7373.
CLASS MEETING: RTT 318, Design Room        T-R- 2:10- 3:25


This course encourages students to synthesize a theoretical and experiential approach to the creative process as studied through the visual arts, music, creative writing, and theatre. Students enter into the creative process as a means to develop creative self-expression, aesthetic sensibility, and an understanding of the arts. The nature and drive of artistic endeavor is explored through studies of the lives of significant thinkers and artists, examination of art works, guest lectures, and projects. Students will engage in activities and projects that will enable them to access and develop their own creative thinking skills in concert with traditional, analytic modes.


What is the nature of creative?  How does one think creatively?  How can we nurture and stimulate our creativity to respond to the world around us?  Artists seem to have figured out how to see possibilities in imaginative ways.  Perhaps by studying artists to see how they think, we might discover ways to access our own creative abilities.  But creative thought is only one part of the equation.  After an artist has an idea, how is it communicated?  Do they make art?  Are there a step-by-step processes that might enhance the success of the creative project? If it is art, what defines it as art? And then, what is art? 

These are questions we will entertain throughout the semester.  Ultimately, it would be interesting to consider the notion that a large percentage of artists share similar creative ways of thinking.  If this is the case, perhaps it is the specific artistic process that makes a musician different from a designer.  How and why do artists choose brushes and paint instead of musical notes to express ideas?   Does artistic process inspire creativity?

To contemplate these questions, we will invite guest artists to share their insights; we will read and discuss text; we will examine methods of artistic creation; and we will experientially explore visual art, music, creative writing and drama through a series of projects.


Attendance and participation are required.  You are allowed two absences before your grade will be affected.  Should you miss a class for any reason, it is your responsibility to cover missed material and be prepared for the next session.  Failure to meet deadlines will be reflected in the evaluation of that particular assignment.


The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa
By Michael Kimmelman
Letters to a Young Poet
By Rainer Maria Rilke
The Book of Qualities
By J. Ruth Gendler
A Play by Peter Shaffer
On line Texts
MUSIC: A Very Short Introduction
By Nicholas Cook
Robert Wilson
Web sites and YouTube selections to be assigned.


The syllabus and assignment due dates reflect the overall concepts, content and structure of the course; however, this syllabus is an instrument of process and must remain flexible; dates and assignments may change to reflect the specific needs and dynamics of this learning community.


This course has four peer mentors who were selected on the bases of faculty recommendations from the four disciplines represented in this course.  In part, they were chosen because of their ability to share their passion for the arts.  Together and with me, our four mentors and the twenty students enrolled in this class will engage in creative thinking and artistic process.           


Creative Endeavor                                                80%
Participation and discussion                               15%
Final Presentation                                                  5%

 There are four units to this class: Visual Arts, Music, Creative Writing and Drama.  Each unit will receive an overall grade.  The four grades will be averaged to determine your Creative Endeavor portion of the grade.

 This is NOT a lecture course in which the instructor does most of the talking while students passively take notes.  We are a community of scholars/artists who will discern and discuss what has been read as ideas put forth by various authors and guest artists. You have a responsibility to thoroughly and thoughtfully read what is assigned and be fully prepared to discuss the material with honesty and insight.  You will be expected to speak out!

 Our discussions will enable us to test our ideas through a variety of projects.  Some assignments will require collaborative group efforts.  You are expected to fully engage in group projects and contribute to established objectives.

 At the conclusion of the course, the class will present a public festival.  We will further define this final presentation as the semester evolves.


All students are covered by a policy that prohibits dishonesty in academic work.  The Academic Integrity Policy (AIP) and the Academic Honor Code share many features: each asserts that the academic community is based on honesty and trust; each contains the same violations; each provides for a procedure to determine if a violation has occurred and what the punishment will be; each provides for an appeal process.

The main difference is that the faculty implements the AIP while the Code is implemented by the Academic Honor Council.  Under the Integrity Policy, the faculty member determines whether a violation has occurred as well as the punishment for the violation (if any) within certain guidelines. Under the Code, a faculty member will (or a student may) report an alleged violation to the Academic Honor Council.  It is the task of the Council to investigate, adjudicate, and assign a punishment within certain guidelines if a violation has been verified.

Students who are under the Honor Code are required to pledge all written work that is submitted for a grade:  "On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unauthorized assistance on this work" and their signature.  The pledge may be abbreviated "pledged" with a signature.  For clarification on plagiarism, visit

Sa 1/24 a weekend day workshop, 10am – 1pm
Workshop Leaders, Sam Gilliam and GNED 2340 Peer Mentors


 The gifts of a creative mind and the process by which creative acts unfold require that we access our diverse modes of intelligence and stretch the limits of what we think we know.  This is precisely the call of the creative spirit.  In this workshop, we will lay the foundation for your semester’s journey into creative process.  You will explore concepts such as “intelligence,” “creativity,” and “learning” through experiential exercises that will challenge your assumptions and stretch your boundaries.  You will be invited to take risks, seek surprise, and cultivate your own creative courage.

GUEST VISUAL ARTIST:  John Mata Gallery Talk
W 2/4 of 2/5  7:00 PM 
Sala Diaz
517 Stieren St
San Antonio, TX 78210
Phone: (210) 695-5132



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