COVID-19 and Fine Arts Students

Sculpture+of+a+flower+created+by+Madelynn+Prieboy

Sculpture of a flower created by Madelynn Prieboy

Madelynn Prieboy, Page Designer

Being a student during a pandemic/global crisis is pretty weird to say the least, but it is even more weird for fine art students, such as myself. I mean, you would think that being given an exorbitant amount of time would be like a godsend for fine art students because of all the extra schedule space that we have to dedicate to art and that is actually pretty true. Loads of us artists are absolutely basking in our mountains of untested, brand-spanking-new art supplies and are finally getting around to those works in eternal progress. At the same time, we still rely on the use of Governor State University’s art studios for our assigned works.  

My classmates and I kept in touch over spring break and have continued to talk throughout the transition from on- campus classes to online ones, and it has been a bit disappointing for us. The use of the studio equipment is the main point of frustration. When my printmaking friends and I first got the email about the Spring Break extension and the then temporary online courses we all shared a collective brainwave: “How are we going to use an acid bath and printing press at home?” My stained-glass classmates also have telepathic abilities and asked: “How are we going to solder windows? What about firing enamel on glass without a kiln?”  

Sculpture of a flower created by Madelynn Prieboy

Being able to experience the use of different crafts is the entire purpose of studio art classes to begin with, so it is a bummer when discussion boards and essays have to replace that important time of growth and learning. It is especially hard for art professors considering that they have to take stock of what supplies students have to work with. Some of us have acrylic paints while others have only colored pencils. My Intro to Printmaking class professor Gretchen Jankowsk recently asked us all what art supplies we had and then assigned a mixed media project to accommodate us students. My 3D Design professor Micahel Hart went with a similar idea of using whatever students have at home by assigning an earthworks piece that uses found objects from our backyards. 

Obviously, this process is strange and new, but it certainly is not lonely due to all of the group chat-based griping and motivating my classmates and I do together. Misery does love virtual company during quarantine, so at least we can wallow in our lost studio hours and mourn our abandoned intaglio plates together.