Some of the most interesting working artists in the area are coming to Miami’s campus this fall as part of the Contemporary Art Forum.

The forum, which is currently in its fourth year, doubles as a one-credit hour lecture course, ART 281, that is offered every semester. Students in the Department of Art are required to take the class three times in order to graduate. The course is also available on a pass/fail basis to non-majors interested in the subject matter.

Each semester, the Department of Art faculty reach out to artists around the country to speak for this lecture series about their own experiences in the art world.

The purpose of this semester’s forum is to allow undergraduate art majors at Miami to come in touch with working artists in all fields from sculpture, to fashion design, to environmental art. Tracy Featherstone — an artist, the Foundation’s Coordinator at the Department of Art and the woman in charge of the forum — knows how important this is to students exploring the field.

“I think when art students come to college, they tend to know some about traditional renaissance art and things like that, but they know very little about artists that are practicing now,” Featherstone said. “So that’s why the focus is on contemporary art because we want to get people that are alive that can talk about what they’re doing and the interactions that they have.”

Due to the isolated nature of Miami’s campus, it can be difficult for art students to form professional connections in their field.  Therefore, another purpose of the class is to bridge that gap by bringing the artists to the students.

Speakers attending the forum this semester include Raul Gonzalez, Gary Freeburg and Emily Moorehead. Gonzalez is a painter and performance artist from Houston. Freeburg is a photographer who also does nature advocacy work in Washington and Alaska. Moorehead is a sculptor and Miami alumna. One of her most interesting installments is comprised of a bicycle that powers a record player when someone rides it.

Featherstone encourages students to introduce themselves to the visiting artists in order to establish professional connections and get the most out of this experience.

Elizabeth Henn is a senior fine arts major who is enrolled in the class for her third and last time this semester. There aren’t as many lectures this semester that appeal to her focus on sculpture, but she has still learned some interesting points of view from lectures in the past.

Sidney Edwards, a second year fine arts major with a focus in painting, is currently enrolled in the class for the second time.

“It’s interesting to see how professional artists work today and what my own future may hold,” Edwards said.

The Contemporary Art Forum will be held from 5:50-7:05 p.m. on Thursdays in the Art Building in room 100. The exact dates and featured artist can be found on Miami’s Department of Art website.