Mixing Earth & Water: Adobe Art and Architecture With Joanna Keane Lopez - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Mixing Earth & Water: Adobe Art and Architecture With Joanna Keane Lopez

Wed, Aug 3, 2022
4 sessions
$225 per person
Up to 30 people
See Dates
$225 per person
$225 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this four-part seminar, explore the history and cultural context of adobe and learn the basics of designing and building adobe architecture.

Course Description

Join multidisciplinary artist Joanna Keane Lopez for an in-depth exploration of adobe architecture in New Mexico and across the world. We’ll look at the history and cultural heritage significance of adobe in New Mexico, the politics surrounding it, and the people and organizations promoting adobe architecture today. We’ll then dive into the methods of building adobe architecture and walk through laying adobes, mixing mortar, leveling, and mud plastering, as well as how to use color, pigments, and alíz (a clay slip paint), before wrapping up with a final session dedicated to exploring adobe as contemporary art. By the end of this course, you will have a deeper understanding of the artistic, cultural, and political significance of adobe around the world as well as a foundational knowledge of adobe architecture.

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes four total sessions, each lasting for 1.5 hours.


Summer Session A: Meets Wednesdays beginning August 3. 

Session 1 (Wednesday, 8/3, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Adobe Architecture Through Time and Space: Cultural significance, politics, and people promoting adobe today

Session 2 (Wednesday, 8/10, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Methods of Construction: Soil composition, foundations, bricks, mortar, and leveling

Session 3 (Wednesday, 8/17, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Final Touches: Mud plastering, colors, and alíz

Session 4 (Wednesday, 8/24, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Adobe as Contemporary Art

Between Sessions

There will be optional reading provided throughout this course, including essays on adobe architecture, culture, art, and history. Students can expect to spend between one and two hours outside of class on readings each week.

Pricing Options

In addition to full-price tickets, a limited number of no-pay spots are available for this course. Please note that these tickets are reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course and who expect to attend all sessions. No-pay spots are distributed via a randomized drawing two weeks before each course begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page

Community Guidelines for Students

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Atlas Obscura Online Courses

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Joanna Keane Lopez
Joanna Keane Lopez

Joanna Keane Lopez (b. 1991 Albuquerque; lives in New Mexico) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work reclaims relationships to craft architecture of land as a form of medicine, a blessing and a spell. Her work with large scale installation, vernacular architecture and sculpture is informed through the use of the materials of adobe, alíz, clay, dyes and paper and often collaborative performance. Through the passing down of knowledge of vernacular architectural techniques of the greater Southwest, Keane Lopez creates work that seeks healing and questions land use and memory that is connected to her own multi-generational roots in New Mexico. Keane Lopez has exhibited nationally at institutions which include: The Momentary of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, SITE Santa Fe, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum, Sarasota Art Museum and has been supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

What Else You Should Know

This is an interactive, small-group seminar that meets over Zoom. Students may be encouraged to participate in discussions, work on assignments outside of class, and workshop projects with their instructor or classmates. Due to the interactive nature of this course, we strongly recommend students attend as many live sessions as possible. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at experiences@atlasobscura.com if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Group Size

There are 30 spots available on this experience.

Dates and Availability
  • Wed, Aug 3, 2022
    8:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
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