Art Programs Support Student Growth, Creativity

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Art History major Kate Haley admires a current exhibit on display at the Adell McMillan Art Gallery in the Erb Memorial Union. Photo by Mary Callie Gisler.

Post and photo by Mary Callie Gisler.

EUGENE, Ore. — While it might be hard to see at first glance, the art community at the University of Oregon (UO) campus is alive and well. The University provides a rich, inclusive  and supportive environment for its art students through a variety of student programs, events, and facilities.

“The [programs] are encouraging of student ideas and direction. It’s very free, but very critical at the same time. Your individual direction is encouraged, but you’re expected to support it,” explained Shannon Sullivan, a current University employee.

Sullivan graduated from the University in 2011 with a bachelor’s in fine arts and painting. But she continues to take art courses for personal enrichment.

In addition to a wide selection of classes, the campus’s art department provides students access to the facilities necessary to flourish as a young artists. The Millrace Studios, located across Franklin boulevard, provide individual student studio space for art students in the final year of their programs.

Lawrence Hall also offers a communal studio space for art students of all concentrations. This is a popular area for students in the first or second year of their program. The community studio provides work space, art supplies and individual lockers for students to securely store their projects and supplies.

The Laverne Krause Gallery, located on the first floor of Lawrence Hall, provides open gallery space for students looking to display paintings, photography, sculptures and more.

“They show student art work in a way that other galleries on campus don’t – it’s an academic focus,” said Sullivan.

But according to Sullivan, some of the student art spaces on campus could use improvement. Years of use has resulted in worn studio spaces and a growing student population makes for cramped classrooms and uneven student-to-teacher ratio.

The community also fosters professional skills and networking through a variety of art-focused student organizations, like the Art History Association (AHS) and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)

“The Art History Association helps with networking and help connect students with art historians who are already in established careers like curating or art administration,” said Kate Haley, a University junior and double-major in Spanish and art history.

Though according to Haley, these important opportunities are not readily advertised throughout campus: “I feel like people need to know more about the events that are going on… Spreading the word about art-related events would open up a lot of opportunities for students.”

Throughout the fine arts and art history programs, University students are finding the resources and connections they need to thrive in an academic setting.

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