Published: July 25, 2014
Walking through campus, you might notice some newly evocative artwork hanging between the familiar faces of students, young Huskies, and the distinguished purple and gold. Banners of collages, poetry and photography bear the markings of UW Bothell’s thriving artistic community that includes students involved in a variety of academic pursuits.
One such student is Kim Potts who, after 16 years of working as a nurse in a hospital and balancing family, work and continuing her nursing education, has developed her skills as an artist at UW Bothell. ”I am definitely a better nurse and truly enjoyed learning about how art can be used to make a statement and bring awareness.”
Her image, Ivy Fences, features a black chain link fence with ivy reaching through. The image represents people breaking through barriers of social injustice and leading the way for others to follow.
UW Bothell Artists-in-Residence Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman developed this project in collaboration with faculty in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. “It is important for students to be able to see their work live outside the classroom,” explains Salinas. “A lot of projects developed by the UW Bothell faculty have this goal in mind: the Clamor journal, the UWave radio, the Jik-Ji risograph print studio, the various exhibitions curated by faculty and students. It is good for students to not see the work produced in the classroom simply as ‘homework’ but as engaged and relevant work in the wider world.”
The participating faculty asked their students to create artworks with the location, context, material and size of the banners in mind. This is a new format for exhibition for both the faculty and students, and inspired some creative opportunities in developing poetic and visual art. The faculty then formed a committee and chose 10 pieces that had interesting relationships to one another and to their locations on the promenade.
The resulting collection is diverse and engaging. Hearing the story behind the pieces illuminates something of the time and care put into each banner. Corbin Bugni, Christyn Hutchens, and Razvan Morar collaborated on Perfect Chaos which uses different strains of text as visual materials for a collage.
“The piece was developed collaboratively,” Bugni says. “All three artists mapped out a vision of three different worlds colliding in chaos and harmony through letterset print. The three styles merge across the center and create an explosion of font and ideas. The banner ultimately represents student collaboration and expression.”
“I can't wait to see our work on a larger scale,” Hutchens says. “I guess it represents pride in my work, school, and the relationships I have made at UW Bothell. I am currently working toward a career in art so my goal is to help people in the future using a variety of mediums.”
There are plans to continue the project, installing new student-created banners once or twice a year while art courses and the campus community gradually incorporate banner projects into their syllabus and yearly schedule. An opening reception for the banners is being scheduled for fall quarter, where students and faculty will be able to further discuss art on campus and the aims of the banner project.
Forty-nine percent of UW Bothell's first year students are the first in their families to attend college.
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