Thinking through Drawing @ SUNY New Paltz

Exploring how drawing can materialize and extend our ideas and perceptions of ourselves, others and the world around us.

Thinking through Drawing 2020: Drawing Together! postponed til 2021

Postponed till October 2021

October 16-18th 2020

SUNY New Paltz students and faculty across disciplines will gather alongside local, national and international artists and educators to explore the potential of thinking through drawing together to harness the power of our collective imaginations.  Sharing practice and knowledge will engage, inspire and transform the ways we think about drawing as a tool of thought.

Drawing Acts: Process and Performance

October 5 (1pm-6pm) and 6 (9am – 5pm)2019

How can drawing act to help us think, learn and understand?  Drawing performances, presentations and workshops explore how the drawing process can work to materialize and extend our ideas and perceptions of ourselves, others and the world in new ways.

Register Here!      email: for more information

Saturday October 5 1pm-6 pm(The Terrace)

Saturday night option (tickets bought separately):
SUNY New Paltz Music Concert Series: With Gongs, Drums and Pianos

Sunday October 6, 9am-5pm

Campus Map (with parking)

You may enter in West (rt 208), North (Mohonk Ave) or South (rt 32) entrances. We will meet at the College Terrace. Printable map

You can park for free   in the Library, Lecture Center and Terrace Parking Lots.

Cheryl Wheat: Auspicious Mark and the language of drawing

auis “bird + specio” to inspect

In ancient Rome the will of the gods was determined by looking for signs usually in the flight of birds. There was a ritual for all bird auspices. This divination is what religion meant to the Romans.
In this workshop we will discuss and explore drawing practices concepts and drawing conventions. The aesthetic basis and shared languages of drawing sculpture and architecture in western art will give us a deeper understanding of drawing’s formal and expressive capabilities as a poetic language.
As a group we will experiment by drawing along together; to gain an understanding of how somatic marks lines and form concepts such as the circle ellipse sphere and egg apply themselves to the complexity of the figure as an analogous language.
The drawing of the circle is a subject that weaves itself throughout art. Plato tells us the circle represents the soul. Giotto claims that to draw a circle is a mark of mastery. We will complete our workshop by approaching the essential subject of drawing through the practice of the Enso circle.

Visitor Information

Campus map with location (College Terrace) and parking

New Paltz Chamber of Commerce Website (links to lodging and local attractions)

SUNY New Paltz Visitors Guide

Interactive Campus Map

Parking: free parking is available in Faculty/Staff lots on Saturday and Sunday

Driving Directions

Dining around New Paltz

Chris Moffett & Helen Singh-Miller: The Course of Improvisation

This workshop posits improvisation as a subtle art of moving through constraint and freedom, responding to the needs and potential of the moment. In drawing, scores and protocols adapted from the fields of dance and movement awareness propel inquiry along the following lines: What might the initiation of improvisation entail? In what sequences and across what thresholds can we engage internal and external impulses? How do we transition from one kind of improvisational exploration to the next, phase shifting and elaborating an accessible path or field for participants? How might we curate improvisational experience, and how does improvisation jive with other modes of independent and group learning?

Helen and Chris are founding members of the collective ARE, exploring the aesthetics of embodied experience in museums, universities and non-traditional organizations. Chris is Visiting Assistant Professor in Art Education at the University of North Texas, researching the underlying forms of education–sitting in a chair, for example, or refusing to sit still. Helen is a Visiting Lecturer at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she teaches in Studio Foundation, Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) and Art Education, and runs the Storefront for Somatic Practice in Cambridge, MA.

Faheem Haider: American Table

“American Table”  points to histories of migration (an American fable) power, and patria. Within that space I will make simple portraits that commemorate, eulogize and historicize American wars at home and abroad. Based on two portrait-based photographs of a) injured Polish person during WWII–2019 is the 80th anniversary of the start of WWII within Anglo-centric politics– and b) an image of a person injured in our American wars abroad and at home  (either an image of an individual harmed in Yemen, or a victim of recent gun-violence) I will make a sequence of portrait drawings of a) and b) in charcoal, ink and pencil, one a minute and switch between one portrait and the other at a time and build a corpus of work that grows by the minute. The performative practice is as collaborative as there are participants who wish to collaborate and build their own practice and corpus.

Roundtables: Sharing Practice

There will be two sessions of “roundtables” where participants can share their studio and teaching practice with others.  Demonstrate your best methods or try out something new! Let us know if you are interested in presenting in this format (first come, first serve):

email Andrea Kantrowitz at

Marta Cabral: Material inquiry in-tension: Draw with the flow

Authors:  Marta Cabral and Sean Justice (Material Inquiry)

Before Artificial Intelligence (AI) there was current. The flow of electrons in and through matter governs the emergence of life itself. The controlled flow of those electrons changed societies, and the planet.

This workshop challenges us to visualize and spatialize the current. Not so much to understand it or restrain it, but to learn to embrace its affordances to generate and grow new capacities for meaningful engagement. Using bare copper wire, batteries, and LED lights we will explore lines and shapes in interaction with flow, tension, and structure. Can we draw and be drawn to / for / with / by that flow?


Anne Deutsch: Drawing for Student Engagement and Learning

How can we use drawing in the classroom to lay the groundwork for learning?  Anticipatory sets, often called hooks, engage the attention of students while activating existing knowledge – two crucial components of learning.  Drawing enables learners to examine their understandings from a unique perspective.  In this interactive workshop participants will engage with and create anticipatory sets that incorporate drawing.

Jaanika Peerna: Glacier Elegy

The performance offers an opportunity to witness and be part of  (co-)creating and destroying, finding the balance between the two.  Where is the moment when one turns into another? Can we turn the process around once it seems the destructive forces have taken over? Can one participant bring on the shift in group dynamics?  The participatory performance brings together movement, drawing and ambient sound exploration.
 Drawing it is an act of courage. We start with a long, hanging empty translucent white plane of mylar. It’s a scary moment yet one of bold possibility. Later in the performace melting ice is applied, and then destruction of the bodily line ensues. Once it is all melted and blurred there is an opportunity to build again. We experience how movement turns into drawing turns into sound as we touch the drawing surface with pencils, ice and our bodies. And then the other way around.
About the Artist

Peerna’s work encompasses drawing, installation, and performance, often dealing with the theme of transitions in light, air, water and other natural phenomena. Her performances often involve the audience in participatory reflection on the current climate meltdown. Her art practice stems from the corporeal experience of existence and reaches towards enhanced awareness of the fragility, interconnectedness and wonder of life.


Jaanika Peerna has exhibited her work and performed extensively in the entire New York metropolitan area as well as in Berlin, Paris, Tallinn, Barcelona, Venice, Moscow, Dubai, Sydney, Canberra, Montreal, and Cologne. Her work is in numerous private collections in the U.S. and Europe and is part of the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris. Her performance Glacier Elegy was recently acquired by the Glyn Vivian Museum in the UK. Her work is represented in the U.S. by JHB Gallery and ARC Fine Art and globally by IdeelART. She was awarded the FID Grand Prize in 2016 for her work in drawing, and she has been a teaching artist at the Dia Art Foundation for many years. Peerna currently works as cultural attaché for Estonia in New York.

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