Costa Rica: How Not to Draw a Straight Line

Costa Rica: How Not to Draw a Straight Line



Program Description 

Decades before environmentalism became a household term in the United States, Costa Rica was taking huge steps towards protecting its natural resources, land and wildlife. This small Central American nation has set aside over 20% of its land as parks or natural sanctuaries. It set a goal of 100% clean energy by 2020, they achieved this 5 years ahead of time, a feat that only Iceland has surpassed.

We will explore Costa Rica, its natural beauty and the laws set forth to protect it. We will also explore how this cultural identity affects the artists who call Costa Rica home.

UCR and la Casa del Artista
Environmental laws, high costs and high taxation on imports have forced artists in Costa Rica to be creative and think outside the box.

Professors from the art department and the chemistry department of the University of Costa Rica, lead by Professor Murillo, have been researching substitutes for acids and petroleum based solvents (using plant extracts and fruit juices that have similar properties to the traditional materials) used in printmaking.

La Casa del Artista
Alejandro Villalobos of the Casa del Artista makes his own presses and inks, creates his etching tools from discarded dental instruments and sets up a print studio completely homemade.



ART 175 Special Topics in Studio Art (3 units) (GE Area V)

Varying concepts, media or techniques. Emphasizing individual expression, professional ability and recent movements and directions in art.

Prerequisite: Upper division standing in art.



Irene Carvajal

Program Leader: Irene Carvajal

Irene Carvajal is a multidisciplinary Costa Rican-American artist, educator and curator. Her art practice includes printmaking, collage, sculpture and installation. Irene has exhibited in the United States, Japan and Costa Rica. Thematically her work touches on colonialism, labor, value, the environment and globalization.

She is passionate about her native Costa Rica and the lessons we can learn from the "tico" way of life. Costa Ricans or "ticos" are creative, outside the box thinkers, who rarely say "no" and more frequently have an unorthodox yet effect other way of doing things.

We will explore this beautiful country, its ideas, customs, biodiversity and how it all permeates the Costa Rican identity and the arts.




It is important to note that each program's total cost will vary depending on the location and the package it offers.  

$750 SJSU Special Session Tuition ($250 per unit)
$200 Administrative Fee 
$2415 Program fees, lodging, class materials and class related tours approximately*
$3365  Total Program Cost


* Airfare is not included. Students will need approximately $220-$320 for meals and additional spending money for souvenirs. 


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  • Itinerary - coming soon!
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