Art & Technology

At Santa Rosa Junior College


The Art Department maintains a strong Web presence. The starting point is the Department's homepage currently found at From this point are linked resources such as our campus Art Gallery documentation and announcements, Student exhibition space, Departmental information and faculty pages.

A test project is our Faculty News Letter page, which is an attempt for our 40 faculty members to share creative and conference experiences:

Art Department's Online Classes

Art & Technology has a long history in the Art Department at Santa Rosa Junior College. The Art Department began teaching with computers in the first Apple II lab on campus in 1983. Classes here were used for special projects in computer painting and animation and augmented our Art 3, Introduction to Art and Design class. An important exhibition in 1985 called Computer Art brought to campus many of the key people from Silicon Valley. A decision was made at this time to include this new technology within the Art Department.

In 1985 we began using the few Macintosh Plus computers we had in our department to begin adding art, graphic design and animation components to existing classes. In 1986 we started new classes in these areas. One class, Introduction of Computer Art also used a new, campus wide communications medium called SOLO. Here students could communicate on a range of topics and it was used by the class for project descriptions and even for dissemenation of graphics files and return of finished projects.

Art 390.77

In the Spring of 1996 we started the College's first, totally online-taught class, Online Art 390.77. The schedule of classes listed the Web URL for the class and students were to find all information about the class from electronic sources. Students shared information between themselves and the instructor by means of a Listserv. The instructor created a series of Web pages with Syllabi, Projects and technical information useful for students negotiating the class via this new medium. The current class URL is:

Art 82

Students in our Digital Photo class were distressed by the need to go off campus to obtain expensive, color prints of their work in order to exhibit them. Michael McGinnis, the instructor was encouraged to create a Web presence for the class and thereby allowing students to show work cheaply and quickly. This project has had other positive elements coming from the class Web page. The instructor now has the ability to document past student work to show as examples, put up projects and useful material which were formerly available only in hard copy and thereby becoming a handy reference for any student in on or off campus labs with Web access.

Instructors in other classes are seeing the Web as both a new tool, resource and a place to deposit past examples and handout material which formerly needed to be stored and filed for reference. Faculty in both Graphic Design and Jewelry are working on teaching tools using the Web.
The Art 82, Digital Photo pages is located at:

Gateway Project

Amateur radio operators have created gateways between the Internet and the amateur radio network, or "amprnet", elsewhere, but I know of no other gateway whose intention is to further creative, multimedia research.

Due to the local expertise, avocational interests and philosophical leanings of the people involved in this project, basic, creative and technological research is going on right now.
Future projects are planned to explore live audio and video.

Conceived as an extension of Art & Technolgy research done by John Watrous, Art Department's chair and initiator of the Art Department's Computer Art curricula, the Gateway is possible because of his past technological expertise and his FCC license. Working with him is Glenn Elmore, a Hewlett Packard engineer who has pioneered radio frequency, high speed amateur radio digital networking. Without his expertise, the network would not be possible. He also brings a creative mind and bredth of interests to the project. Bob Dickson is another participant. Bob lives in Sea View, about 25 miles from Santa Rosa and because of his employment as an electronics consultant, has access to Morhardt Ridge telecommunications facility, a high point near the coast which can literally see the Santa Rosa valley. An important network link resides on Morhardt Ridge which connects all the participants. Bob is also a former Pan Am pilot and amateur astronomer. His CCD images are found on the network pages. All three hold FCC licenses which means that they have passed tests concerning the regulations and technolgy involved in amateur radio communication and are held responsible for their actions.

One of several projects we are currently working on is to place a radio and microphone in the swamp of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, which is mid way between Glenn and John's homes. By doing this it is hoped to provide real-time live sounds from the many birds living in the Laguna accessable to anyone having a Web browser.

About John Watrous

With a background in chemistry, involved in computers since 1964, and a degree is in sculpture having built machine-like analogies for years, he has been teaching at SRJC since 1974, currently the department chair for the past 6 years, and started the computer art area here. He and is primarily interested in teaching people ways to become more creative and value the creative process, rather than a narrower limit of making art-products.

A link to some of his personal, project pages: