Students break from routine at Art Scramble

Kayla McLane

As students entered the art building last week, they were greeted by music in the lobby and a game of putt-putt golf in the hallways amongst other activities.

The Art and Design department held its first Art Scramble on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and Thursday, Nov.

The event allowed art and design majors to try out different disciplines during two and half hour workshops that consisted of everything from woodworking studios to art history lectures.

The event also hosted a visiting artist, Technical Dave, on
Friday, Nov 13.

One student participant was Guy Schuill, a junior human centered design major.

“It was really awesome to experience different disciplines. You get a small taste instead of diving into a full class,” he said.

The break from routine benefited both faculty members and students, said Tracy Wascom, an art history assistant professor who taught a bookbinding session to a full classroom during
Art Scramble.

“It was a chance to give everybody—the students, the faculty—everybody permission to play,” Wascom said.  “It was this really magical influx of joy.”

Students were encouraged to explore either inside or outside their discipline. They were learning concepts they can bring back into their regular field of study, while still having fun. Mistakes are made through experimentation, and those mistakes can be valuable to the learning process, she said.

Because the professors took the grades out of the equation, students were able to return to the core place of making art because they love doing it, Wascom said. Art Scramble allowed both students and faculty to forget about the rigor of the regular semester.

“In worrying about procedural things, we (teachers) miss part of what we hope most of us got into academia for in the first place which was the joy of learning,” Wascom said.

In the middle of final projects, deadlines and other courses, Art Scramble offered a chance for students to take a deep breath,
she said.

“It’s a good release of steam for students,” Wascom said.

The date of Art Scramble was determined partly by the date of AD 303: Individual Art Review, said Stephan Larson, computer art professor and unofficial coordinator of the event.

Individual Art Review, a course all art and design majors take, is a portfolio review that determines a student’s future in the department. The art scramble was a decompression period for both students who went through portfolio review and those who did not, he said.

“Hopefully everybody goes back to class Monday a little more energized about art in general,”
Larson said.

The department will decide on the future of the program at a later date, but the estimate right now is that it will continue into
future semesters. Students were encouraged to fill out a survey online after participating in the Scramble. Larson is the faculty member receiving all the student surveys and said the response has been “overwhelmingly positive.” There is hope for future growth in the
program, Larson said.

“We are hoping to slowly expand into making the whole week kind of an event,” he said. “The long-term thought is that the entire week becomes a little more
vibrant yet.”