Contemporary Art in Los Angeles & Joshua Tree

January 7-14, 2019 in LA; January 17-22, 2019 in Chicago (Note: Dates Subject to Change)
United States

Watts Tower

*Note: Dates subject to change

Los Angeles is a city experiencing explosive cultural growth.  It is a nexus of popular and fine art, where television, film, music, design, and the arts meet.  Geographically it sits at a point where the cultures of the US, Latin America, and Asia meet. This blend of globalism, creativity, and sprawling space gives the city a vibrancy and relevancy that make it an attractive place for artists to live and work. In the last few years the number of artists and galleries has increased rapidly, and is reflected in the range of institutions and art work that can be seen, from small DIY spaces showing work from recent graduates to blue chip galleries exhibiting historical surveys.

During this class students will gain a thorough overview of one of the art capitals of the world.  Students will visit all of the major museums, numerous galleries, and 5-6 artist's studios. The class will begin with two days in Joshua Tree followed by six days in Los Angeles. Four days of critique and studio visits in Chicago will end the class.

Mari Eastman lived and worked in Los Angeles for 16 years and taught at several of the art schools there including UCLA, CalArts, and USC. Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer is a Los Angeles-based curator and writer.  This class can be taken for either studio or art history credit. Studio credit students will attend an all-class presentation and will have studio visits from the instructor once we have returned to Chicago.

Credits: 3 credits STUDIO and/or 3 credits ARTHI (4000-level)


Marie Eastman, Painting & Drawing

Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, LA curator and critic

Program fee: Approx. $840 (not including accommodation in LA, meals, or airfare.)

PLUS Tuition cost per credit:

Undergraduate—$1,613 per credit hour

Graduate—$1,665 per credit hour.

Accommodation at Joshua Tree: The group will meet at a designated departure point in LA on the morning of January 7 to take a chartered bus to Joshua Tree. Group accommodation at Joshua Tree is provided and students will be required to stay with the group for that part of the class (the nights of January 7 & 8).

Accommodation in Los Angeles: Students are not required to stay in a group accommodation in Los Angeles and may find their own accommodation from January 9 until the end of the class provided they can meet the group at the scheduled bus departure point each morning.

Accommodation Option in LA: Students may opt to stay at the Highland Gardens Hotel at 7047 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028, where the bus departs from daily. Two-bed rooms for six nights from January 9 - 14 are approx. $1,310 ($655 each for two in a room). A single room is the same price as a twin room. Students staying at the hotel will pay for their rooms directly to the hotel.

Online registration begins: October 10, 2018

Deposit due at registration: $525

Information sessions: 

Tuesday, September 25, 12:10 p.m.

MacLean Centre, 112 S. Michigan Ave., room MC 707

Wednesday, October 3, 4:15 p.m.

MacLean Centre, 112 S. Michigan Ave., room MC 112


From previous trip’s course evaluations:

  • Really great trip. Thoroughly enjoyed myself. Both Sarah and Mari have great connections to artists in the L.A. area. 
  • It was a good opportunity to get to know about art practices in LA. The places we visit did show how the works in LA are different from Chicago regarding influence of pop culture, neighborhood and stuff.
  • I was inspired by the art and got a lot of great ideas for my own art practice and works.
  • Helped me realize that I don't want to stay in Chicago after I graduate. Definitely interested in moving to Los Angeles in the future. Provided me with a network of potential connections for future work, exploration, and assistance. Also got me excited to make new work and have a studio. Provided me with a variety of ideas and an overarching theme that putting work out into the work can be done if you work hard enough and are passionate enough to find your way and carve your own path.
  • Highland Gardens Hotel was a nice location. Next to the Magic Castle and a few blocks away from Hollywood Boulevard. Near the train, near a bunch of Hollywood tourist attractions but with some distance so you're not having to go through the crowds. I stayed a few blocks away from the HGH and still really enjoyed the location, especially.
  • Take good care of yourself during the trip. Even though it can feel tiring at times but fully be there as you won't regret when looking back. When you face something meaningful, don't be lazy like me and try to be in the moment!
  • Definitely be prepared to save up money for the trip (it is, however, totally possible to save a lot of money being on the trip, it just requires planning). Also try to do the readings as much as possible before the trip when you have the most time, so you can enjoy the trip.