What have the art students of ‘Boro been up to this summer?

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at 5:00 PM

While many students are enjoying their summers off, others, especially art students, are taking their studies outside the classroom, whether for credit or not.

The workload of an art student is notoriously demanding and it usually does not stop after the semester ends. Though students do have a choice in the matter, it all comes down to drive.

Both Suzanne Proulx, assistant chair and associate professor of the Edinboro University art department, and Dr. William Mathie, professor and acting chairperson of the art department, encourage and notice the benefits of this continued workload. “It’s a stepping stone to their next phase after they graduate,” Proulx said. Each student should work “more on their own each year,” Mathie said.

Proulx shared that staff often see a lag in fall and spring semester performance if summer and winter session work does not take place. “We encourage them to work on their own projects,” she said.

Gina Yonko, a junior graphic design and illustration major who worked for her brother’s church and as a portrait artist for an amusement park, shared the importance of continuing to create outside of the classroom. “If you don’t keep at it, you’re not gonna get any better. You’re gonna stay the same,” she said. Erin Crowell, a junior who is majoring in graphic and interactive design, made a comparison between art and athletics. “If you don’t practice then you’ll be out of shape,” said Crowell.

Crowell, who is from New York, assisted with jobs at her local town hall, which included event posters and seasonal event logos. Crowell shared that her most important lesson from this was, “learning how to figure out projects on your own, getting out there and being more independent.” Yonko’s experiences helped her become “more used to being critiqued.”

Grace Bennett, a senior metalsmithing/jewelry major, earned six credits after completing an internship and practicing with private businesses. Work consisted mainly of clean-up — as in filing, sanding, soldering and finishing pieces. Bennett shared that this experience helped her be more realistic about her profession and future. “It taught me how to work harder than I thought I already knew, and it taught me a lot about myself — not only as an artist, but as a person.”

“At some point, we want students to start thinking of themselves as artists,” said Mathie. Annabelle Martin, a junior animation major, stated that, “Working on my own stuff has helped me a whole bunch.” Both Mathie and Martin addressed the importance of working not just for curriculum, but for themselves. To be an artist means not only doing what a professor tells you, but “having the ability to motivate yourself,” explained Martin, who completed three personal stories, some with applied drawings, and both for self-expression and staying concentrated.

For students who have the opportunity, some of this work takes place overseas and is done entirely for the enjoyment. Alex Ho, a senior film and video major, completed photography work in Australia, Vietnam and Singapore this past summer, focusing on nature and urban areas. “It was just for fun,” he said.

Indeed, seeing how busy the Edinboro University art community was this summer certainly reminds us that the new slogan picking up steam is: “For Those Who Strive.”

Amber Chisholm can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: arts

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