A remote spin on the formative critique – Micaela Vivero, Studio Art

Gina Goico, Visiting Artist

Chantal Feitosa, Visiting Artist

A remote spin on the formative critique

By Micaela Vivero, Studio Art

The issue

In Studio Art we have done a field trip to New York City with our senior practicum students  for over 10 years. In this trip we visit museums, galleries, artist studios and get to talk with artists about their own experience of being a practicing artist in such an important art center as is New York City. This was not going to be possible this fall, so I thought of a way to create meaningful interaction for students with professional artists in a remote, but still engaging way. 


As part of an artistic practice, the process of a formative critique is crucial. During this process, a student shares their work with the class – explaining their ideas, intention, technique, process and inspiration. Then, members of the class and faculty reflect on what they see and understand, providing constructive criticism to improve the work. 

The idea

I currently have nine students in my senior visual arts practicum. Each is working on the senior project, so useful formative feedback is critical. To achieve this, I invited two visiting artists, Chantal Feitosa and Gina Goico, to join the group remotely share their own work and perspectives as well as give formative critiques to the students. 

The format of our meeting was based on recent art talks in the profession that I have attended since the COVID pandemic. Our Zoom session began with the two guest artists sharing their work for about 15 minutes each. Next, each student shared five images of their current work over five minutes. Students were required to present in their senior studio space, in order to get used to being in this space devoted to artistic production and discussing their work from there even in a remote setting. After the nine five-minute presentations, we took a 30-minute break. During the break, the visiting artists looked for reoccurring themes and then shared those as part of a larger conversation with the whole group after the break. They also provided suggestions and comments to help move the work forward.

Shruti Shankar, Studio Art senior BFA


While I would have preferred holding this initial formative critique with visiting artists in person, I liked certain aspects of this event. For example, I enjoyed watching my students interact with artists they felt a connection develop due to the subject matter they address in their work. These visiting artists were great role models and provided inspiration for my students.. I also like how the students presented from their own studio space. They took pride and ownership in the work and space they have created for themselves during this semester.

While I have returned to formative in person critiques (with a remote option, which I guess makes them be hybrid), I find the hybrid model to be particularly challenging in this setting. Students value in person critiques a lot,there are elements as for example scale and materiality that don’t translate into the virtual model. In Studio Art we have continued to invite a diverse group of artists to remotely interact with our students, at the same time as allowing to generate a sense of community within our students.

Micaela Vivero
Associate Professor
Studio Art/Latin American & Caribbean Studies