Students use art in public demonstrations

Students in professor Jacob Stanley's studio art class hold up a banner at a crosswalk in front of the Library and Academic Resources Center that reads "Hit Me Baby One More Time." Student organizer Kelsey Orf said she wants to draw attention to a lack of stop signs at the crossing.
Photo by Kat Owens

ABBY STONE | Reporter

Studio art students are creating sculpture demonstrations for problems they find on campus as projects for the class.

The professor of the class, Jacob Stanley, said he encourages his students to work in public spaces around campus and to use their art as an exhibition.

“I think all art has a responsibility to engage with an audience, and I think college is a great place to test that out,” Stanley said.

The most recent project was a pink banner that read, “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” outside of the Library and Academic Resources Center. The project was orchestrated by student Kelsey Orf.

Orf said the purpose of this piece was to show that the pathway to the LARC is dangerous for students because of the lack of stop signs.

“The project was meant to highlight that area and the need to create a safer option,” she said. “And to call that out in a humorous way.”

“All art has a responsibility to engage with an audience, and … college is a great place to test that out” – Jacob Stanley

Stanley encourages all of his students to weigh the risks of creating an art piece in a public space.

Stanley said risks involved include safety, academic pursuits and changes in personal reputation.

For Orf, the benefits outweighed the risks. She said this art piece was worth creating.

“Whatever risk I may face is a better risk than any student would face if they got hit,” she said.

Stanley’s sculpture class is very involved with the issues on campus, and the students use their art to highlight the problems they see.

Shay Hearn, another student in the class, has created a blue frame sculpture outside of Studio East as a form of satire, poking fun at the boring nature of the studios.

“Everyone is enticed by the Scheidegger center and all its fancy appearances, but the actual buildings that we as artists have to make most of our material is very bland and boring,” Hearn said.

Orf has another art demonstration in the works dealing with laundry on campus, but would like to keep it under wraps until her piece is unveiled.

Both Hearn’s and Orf’s pieces are meant to engage students and call attention and action to issues on campus.

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