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Advanced Course in Fine Arts/Visual Arts

Ar.Co’s Advanced Courses start in the 1990’s, when the average duration of the Basic Course (2/3 school years) is found insufficient to provide serious professional training and a competitive edge for the students. The structure of each one of the Advanced Programs (Advanced Course in Fine Arts and Advanced Course in Photography) soon differs. The Advanced Course in Fine Arts (later to be called Advanced Course in Visual Arts) is created in 1992, with two semesters, oriented by painter Pedro Calapez and assisted by two coordinators, Ruth Rosengarten and Manuel Castro Caldas. Candidates from within the school must have a 3 year frequency of either the fine arts (Drawing, Painting or Sculpture) or other departments or be outside students to whom “equivalent formation” is recognized. The class meets in the various spaces where theoretical sessions, group discussions or guided tours take place, unlike what happened in the Basic Courses: studio space is now devoted to the individual work, where assigned tutors follow its development on a regular basis. Likewise, the program centers less on technical or formal questions and more on questions of content, both very general and very particular, addressed from an inter-disciplinary point of view. The course's main objective is that of addressing the main questions and attitudes that emerge in contemporary art production while providing a suitable environment for the development of each student's historical-critical conscience. In 1995 the Course becomes a 2 year program and the position of head of department is substituted by that of two coordinators (Delfim Sardo e João Queiroz), who eventually invitate artists and cultural agents to present their work and/or colaborate in sessions of analysis and criticism of the students’ work. An effort is also made to make the students benefit from their participation in the setting up of shows, inside the school or outside, for which they eventually produce site-specific works (one of the first opportunities for this type of exercise emerges with the exhibitions at the Solar dos Zagallos, Sobreda da Caparica, through a protocol signed with the Almada City Council in 1996). In 1997, with João Queiroz, the Course goes back to the formula of one single coordinator for both years. Manuel Castro Caldas will inherit that responsability and the course will acquire a relatively stable format: free use of ample studio space, regular theoretical sessions specifically conceived for the course (and open to students in Individual Projects), credits allowing students to attend courses offered by the department of History and Theory of Art, discussion sessions with guests and guided tours to studios and exhibitions and, finally, participation in the Summer Show/ Fall Show, taking place in Almada (for 1st year students) and participation by selection in the Scholarship Students & Finalists show. In the second decade of the present century the Advanced Course in Fine Arts tends to be referred to as Advanced Course in Visual Arts, given the heterogenous nature of the expressive practices that the program responds to. The Quinta de S. Miguel in Almada has become, throughout the years, the main working space for most students attending the Advanced Course in Visual Arts and the Individual Projects in Visual Arts.

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    Exhibition presenting the Advanced Course programs at the Ministry for Finance, Terreiro do Paço, Lisbon, 1993. Manuel Costa Cabral, Emílio Rui Vilar, Manuel Castro Caldas.

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    Ana Yokoshi (Advanced Course in Visual Arts). Untitled" - Installation at the exhibition "Scholarship Students & Finalists 1994", Ar.Co, Lisbon. Exposiçºao de Bolseiros e Finalistas 1994, Ar.Co, Lisboa.

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    Advanced Course in Visual Arts 2012-2013. Exercíse "Objecto Ultra-Rápido". Performance by Teodorico Mendes. Ar.Co Almada.

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    Conference-debate for advanced students with Monsignor Pierre Riches and Manuel Castro Caldas, Ar.Co, Lisbon, 2000.

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    New studios of the Advanced Course in Visual Arts, Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada. Movie still from João Dias' "Time Improved", 2013.

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    Guided Tour with Ana Jotta for students in Ar.Co's Advanced Courses and Projects, in the artist's exhibition at Culturgest, 2014.

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    Talk with Pedro Sousa Vieira for Ar.Co's Advanced Courses and Projects at the artist's exhibition in Belo-Galsterer Gallery, 2014.

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    Group tutorials with various teachers for Advanced Course in Visual Arts and Individual Projects. Ar.Co, Almada, January 2015.

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    Ar.Co's advanced students Visiting the Sonnabend Collection exhibition at Fundação Arpad Szenes/Vieira da Silva, Lisbon, 2015.

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    Guided tour with the artist and Manuel Castro Caldas at the exhibition of Pedro A.H. Paixão for students of Ar.Co's Advanced Courses and Projects. Galeria 111, Lisbon, October 2015.

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    Talk with artist Jorge Queiroz in his exhibition "O Caso" at the White Pavillion, Museu da Cidade, Lisboa, for students of Ar.Co's Advanced Courses. 2015. Image: Nuno Martinho.