By KATE LUCE
With school currently being online, I think the students that will suffer the most are ones in Fine Arts. I recently wrote a piece about seniors in the arts, but anyone in fine arts might have the hardest time transitioning into an online environment.
I want to say, I do understand why we are switching to online classes. We have to flatten the curve and protect those who are more vulnerable than us. However, I worry about how this move will affect students that are less lucky than I am.
If students don’t have space or the funds to create a space to make art, then they are pretty much out of luck. I was fortunate enough to be able to work things out with my printmaking professor and take some supplies home. However, I still don’t have all the things that the print shop has to offer.
The two printmaking classes currently in session are based entirely on the equipment the shop has. Students would not be able to take home acids to burn heavy lithography stones or take home intaglio copper plates that also need an acid bath for the image to come out. A small, portable printing press can cost up to $200.
Through the madness, I did create a small printing studio, but I still am lacking the supplies and equipment to make lithography or intaglio a reality. I took home silkscreens, ink, and squeegees, but the images on the screens are the only ones I can print.
For painting, I am fortunate I have a space where I can paint, but I know others are not so lucky. Oil painting is messy, and that is an understatement. I still have clothes covered in paint because I couldn’t get it out.
In addition, you need a dedicated space to do work, and not have to worry about making a mess. Easels need to be able to support large works if that is your thing, but if it isn’t, then you need a stable easel, not the ones that cost $20 at Hobby Lobby.
Instructors won’t be able to help as much as they did prior. This is important. In class, anytime you were stuck, your professor was there to help. This interaction allowed for a new perspective, and a viewpoint that came with a lot of experience. Now, students are almost on their own with their work, which could be both good and bad depending on how you see it, but for the most part, it’s always helpful to get different perspectives and see technique.
Zoom is almost the only way these classes might be able to function, but even then, there are limits. If using your phone, you can show specific areas of the piece you want to fix, but this could be difficult if you only have a laptop. The resolution could be bad on a phone or laptop as well, so ultimately, Zoom could be bad to use for this.
With these online classes, I understand why it’s vital to have them, but in the same boat, I think fine arts students will suffer if they don’t have the means to have a space to create the work. I appreciate how my professors have handled the situation at hand. There is really not much to do, as we don’t have much control over this. I just hope that in the future, this won’t be as big of an issue as it is currently.