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Creative Arts


No other program in LSA offers a wider range of studio arts classes. RC students have the opportunity to take courses in our own studios and to exhibit their work in gallery and theater space within East Quad.

Past course offerings have included ceramics (with on-site kilns), drawing and painting, photography (with on-site darkroom), holography, media studies, ethnic dance from the Congo and Java, music composition courses, and a breadth of theater opportunities—in short, everything that brings the humanities to life.

RC Music Program

Playing and listening to music uses the whole brain at once [Alluri et al., University of Jyväskylä, Finland].

Learning to play an instrument raises your IQ [Schellenberg, University of Toronto Missisauga].

Playing music makes people better readers, and better students [Kraus, Harmony Project, Northwestern University Auditory Neuroscience Lab].

When people play music together, their brainwaves get synchronized [Lindenberger, Li, Gruber and Müller, Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin].

Don’t take our word for it – the studies quoted here are only the tip of the iceberg of recent neuroscience studies about the benefits of musical education. Music classes make students better, smarter and happier.

Each semester, the RC music program offers 7-10 different classes, educating 136-190 students.

Traditionally, music is taught in the college-conservatory setting strictly within the musical disciplines: musicology (humanities), music theory (science), performance (performing arts), composition (creative arts), technology (engineering). In contrast, most RC classes are interdisciplinary by nature, mixing music theory and musicology with performance and the making of music. We do this in order to offer a broader experience in music for the non-music majors, and to help students apply the topic specific skills in their own music making. The RC offers the following types of music classes:

1.     1-2 credit Performance and Theory labs: Chamber music, Choir, Chinese Ensemble, Creative Musicianship theory lab, all 300-level RCMUSIC courses

2.     4 credit Recitations: interdisciplinary classes mixing performance, history, theory, composition, improvisation and technology depending on the skill set of the particular class: Foundations of Music, Electronic Music, Afro-Cuban Drumming and Styles, Found Instruments, Improvisation, Creative Musicianship, RCMUSIC courses offered at 200- and 300-levels   

3.     3 credit Lecture/seminars in musicology  (Rotating Music topics class, History of the Symphony, Opera) under the RCHUMS subject code

The music recitations and labs in the RC focus on teaching the creative and performance processes.  The program supports the RC non-major students seeking to fulfill the RC Arts Practicum, the students majoring in the RC Arts and Ideas, as well as the LSA music majors and minors, who at times have difficulty in finding fitting classes at the School of Music. Most RC music classes have no pre-requisites: the RC classes often focus on self-directed creative projects that are conducted at the individual skill levels. 

RC Studio Arts Program

The Residential College Studio Arts Program is based on the premise that art at its most fundamental level is an expression of awareness and that first-hand knowledge of the visual arts is an essential determinant of the quality of life. The Studio Arts Program is one of the Residential College’s unique features, as the college itself is unique in requiring its students to take as part of their degree requirements a course in the fine arts, which includes studio work.

Listen to RC alumna Nancy Blum, '85, say what the RC Studio Arts Program did for her.

The goals of our program are to develop wide-ranging skills, interests, and capabilities. Diversification, conceptual and interdisciplinary skills, and fundamental visual and craft principles all must be dealt with in one or two courses in any given medium. Our courses require an intensive commitment of time and energy by both faculty and students. It is our intention not only to give students technical expertise in a given area of visual arts but also to train students to think deeply and critically about the place of art in contemporary society.

The Fine Arts Program offers courses at both beginning and upper levels. No prerequisites are necessary for the beginning courses, and students with no previous art experience are encouraged to try these courses.

Our studios for ceramics, fibers and design, printmaking, photography and holography are accessible 24 hours a day to enrolled students.

  • RC Photography Studio
    The Photography studio offers students the opportunity to shoot, process and develop black and white, color, and holographic images using traditional and digital processes.
  • RC Ceramics Studio
    The ceramics studio offers students the opportunity to create wheel-thrown as well as hand built ceramic forms. Students glaze and fire their work on site.
    For more information about the RC Ceramics studio please contact Susan Crowell by calling 734-647-4592.
  • RC Art Gallery
    The Residential College Art Gallery is located in the University of Michigan’s East Quadrangle Residence Hall (701 E. University, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1245.) [See map.] The approximately 500 square-foot exhibit space hosts two professional and one RC student exhibit in both the fall and winter semesters. The Gallery opened in 1997 in conjunction with the RC’s 30th Anniversary celebration with a photo exhibit of the acclaimed international photojournalist (and 1977 RC alumnus), David Turnley.
    In recent years exhibitors have included: Frank Cassara, Margo Mensing, Ellen Wilt, Kate Blacklock, Wendel Heers, Marianetta Porter, Tom Voorhees, Sherri Smith, Sa Schloff, and all four of the current RC Studio Art faculty.
    If you have questions concerning the RC Art Gallery, please contact Ray Wetzel.
    The RC Art Gallery closes in the summer.
    Note: The RC Art Gallery is best accessed through the west-side of East Quadrangle, off of East University Street and across from the UM Business School. All UM dormitories are locked 24 hours per day; so you will need to call 3-0176 (phone by entrance) in order to gain access.
  • RC Printmaking Studio
    The Printmaking studio offers students the opportunity to create woodblock prints and screen prints as well as one-of-a-kind monotypes and drawings.
    For more information about the RC Printmaking studio, please contact Instructor Toby Millman. 
  • RC Sculpture Studio
    The sculpture studio offers students the opportunity to create sculpture in wood using hand techniques as well as with power tools including the drill press, band saw and lathe.

RC Drama Program

The RC Drama program offers a study unique at U of M: the understanding of drama both as art form and literature. Students learn to understand all the stages of the dramatic process—from circumstances of a work’s composition, to the history of theater methods and presentation, and myriad forms of expression. Students also attune their sense of theater aesthetic through practice and experimentation—they learn costuming, lighting, scenery, all of the factors that help create true perform—and of course, they act.

More information about the RC Drama major

Creative Writing and Literature

The RC Creative Writing and Literature program allows students to simultaneously develop their writing skills [in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, etc.] while pursuing a serious study of literature. RC students work closely with faculty, initially in workshop classes and then individually in writing tutorials.

More information about the RC Creative Writing major 

RC Creative Writing students have demonstrated unparalled success in the esteemed U-M Hopwood Awards program, winning multiple awards every year.

For  more information on the Creative Writing major please contact:
The RC Academic Services Office
1813 East Quad
734-763-0032

RC Art Gallery

The Residential College Art Gallery is located in the University of Michigan’s East Quadrangle Residence Hall (701 E. University, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1245.) [See map.] The approximately 500 square-foot exhibit space hosts two professional and one RC student exhibit in both the fall and winter semesters. The Gallery opened in 1997 in conjunction with the RC’s 30th Anniversary celebration with a photo exhibit of the acclaimed international photojournalist (and 1977 RC alumnus), David Turnley.

In recent years exhibitors have included: Frank Cassara, Margo Mensing, Ellen Wilt, Kate Blacklock, Wendel Heers, Marianetta Porter, Tom Voorhees, Sherri Smith, Sa Schloff, and all four of the current RC Studio Art faculty.

If you have questions concerning the RC Art Gallery, please email Ray Wetzel

The RC Art Gallery closes in the summer.

Note: The RC Art Gallery is best accessed through the west-side of East Quadrangle, off of East University Street and across from the Ross Business School. All U-M residence halls are locked 24 hours per day; so you will need to call 3-0176 (phone by entrance) in order to gain access.

RC German Theatre

Go directly to the RC German Program Facebook Page for everything you need to know.