Course Overview

Art and Activism have gone hand in hand for decades, possibly beginning with Goya’s Disaster of War series, completed in 1820. This course will explore methods to involve others, (MANY others), with your own creative initiatives.

In addition to physical projects, students in this course will point out their concerns and engage in activities regarding the vast array of subjects that demand contemporary critical discourse. What we choose to concentrate on will depend on the dynamic of the course and the participants so BRING YOUR OPINIONS and be ready to talk first thing!

This course is part of Summer College Studio Art Academy, an enrichment and community-building program offered through Syracuse University’s School of Art, part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). 

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University credit transcript.

Course Objectives


  • Ability to tackle uncomfortable subjects and have productive conversations regardless of opinions
  • Define Activism in Art and be able to defend your definition
  • Increase sensitivity to giving a voice to the voiceless in a collaborative and inclusive environment
  • Consider art’s role(s) in a variety of cultural, political and economic contexts
  • Raise Awareness toward one or more socio-political issues that affect you
  • Motivate people to action
  • Commitment and follow through with a ideas      


  • Conceptualize and execute a minimum of two, completed projects that are ready to display in specified venues/situations/actions/events, actual and/or virtual
  • Investigate topically relevant issues, VISUALLY
  • Develop striking technique that is easy to produce/reproduce
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate visually
  • Think critically about how activism affects the cultural fabric of a society
  • Effectively document work
  • Put new work(s) in public

“I was able to be creative and come up with an idea of how to solve a problem through my art.”

— Summer College – Online Art and Activism student, 2020

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number:

  • Credit: AIC 200
  • Noncredit: SCN 124

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore*, junior or senior status – or a 2023 high school graduate. 
*Rising sophomores are only eligible for the noncredit version of this course.

Credit: 3 credits** or Noncredit

**Prospective students wishing to take the course for college credit are required to submit a sample portfolio of 3-5 images of current artwork formatted in a single pdf document. Please include name, date, title, and dimensions. Images in the sample portfolio do not need to be in the medium of the course to be taken but should emphasize creativity and technical accomplishment.


  • Credit: A-F
  • Noncredit: Pass/Fail



  • Residential: $4,535
  • Commuter: $3,589


  • Residential: $3,945
  • Commuter: $2.999

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time
(Eastern Time)
Summer College – On Campus 2-Week Session II: Sunday, July 16 – Friday, July 28, 2023MTWThF;
9 a.m. –
4 p.m.
3 Credits or NoncreditClosed
Class times subject to change.

Course Requirements

Required Supplies

Students should budget for the cost of supplies.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

Students are typically in class Monday – Friday. Here’s what a day looks like for Art and Activism students:

  • 9 a.m. noon Studio instruction with Professor
  • Noon – 1:30 p.m. Lunchtime Lecture / Visiting Artists
  • 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Studio Instruction with Graduate Assistant
  • 6 – 9 p.m. Open Studio

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Academic Field Trips

Potential field trips include:

  • Syracuse University Art Museum Print Collection

End Event

On the final day, the Art and Activism class will have a final exhibition with all School of Art students. Parents and family members are invited!

Instructor Bio

Dusty Herbig – Associate Professor, Studio Arts and Coordinator, Printmaking

Dusty Herbig teaches lithography, intaglio, screenprint, relief, letterpress, digital print, steamroller and all levels of advanced and graduate level course offerings. Herbig earned an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 and a B.F.A. from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, in 1996. Herbig exhibits nationally, participating in juried exhibitions in all corners of the U.S., including Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, New York City, and internationally, including exhibitions in Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Spain, Pakistan, Taiwan, Brazil, Germany, South Korea, and Poland. His socially provocative work is in the permanent collections of many institutions and personal collections.

Check out Dusty’s personal site here!

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