Seniors in the arts left with no place to perform among the COVID-19 response

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By: KATE LUCE

Staff Writer 

kmluce@iu.edu

With the push for the final weeks of the spring semester to be completed online, some majors are working better than others with an online environment. Perhaps students that are most impacted by this decision are seniors in the arts.

Integrated New Media and Fine Arts students need certain equipment that is too expensive to have at home to create their artwork. Theatre students need to perform with their classmates and receive feedback from their professors, and music students need a space to perform instruments or need the instruments on campus.

“My concentration is in drawing and painting, which means that sometimes I need a second opinion from my professor on how my piece is coming along. As of right now, my only way of communicating with my professors is through email. Simply emailing my professor a picture of my piece is not an effective way to get proper feedback. I need another set of eyes to see my piece there in the room, whether it’s from a new angle or in different lighting. With only a picture, my professor is only able to see one interpretation of my art, not experience it in the same space. This impedes his ability to give constructive criticism. Also, having to wait for an email back from professors can be frustrating and inconvenient,” Bradi Reardon, BFA Painting and Drawing, said.

“It is especially important for arts students to be face to face because there are many times you will be doing partner activities, you will need a certain type of floor to dance on, or you have one on one lessons with your voice teacher which won’t translate the same,” Taylor Jump, Musical Theatre Major, said.

“I am no longer able to complete projects in a studio setting when these projects require that studio space. Due to online classes only, this also affects how each of my professors will handle the rest of the semester with how much they will need to change or completely take away projects that many of us had already begun working hard on. For example, my minor is Printmaking and this field is 100% hands-on in a studio environment and right before these decisions were made to make everything online, I had just begun on a lithography project that, of course, required the use of the Printmaking studio. Especially as a senior with this semester being my last, I do feel like I have been robbed from many experiences that I should’ve been able to partake in such as the senior BFA show,” Chelsea Ray-Dye, BFA Graphic Design, said.

In addition, senior arts students usually have a showcase to perform one last time or an art exhibit to show off their work. With events being canceled or postponed, these students are upset but understand where this is coming from. Seniors who were expecting to have their BFA show or their showcase are currently unsure of if it might happen anymore.

“Shutting down campus is completely understandable because I know we have to slow the spread of the virus. It all happened very quickly; in a matter of days things went from ‘we might have a longer spring break’ to ‘we might not have a BFA show…’ really suddenly. I have been emailing people daily to try to figure out what is going on and how to proceed. I’m heartbroken at the thought of having to pack up my painting studio before even finishing the semester. I’m not even sure if we are having an official BFA show anytime soon. However, I’m sure that IU understands the overwhelming loss of studio time and resources we’re enduring. I hope that IU will do all that they can to help me and the other seniors have our BFA show and graduation ceremony,” Reardon said.

“This show is pretty much like a rite of passage for all of us and it is something that we will look back on as a huge accomplishment and with pride! And because of the fact that we no longer know when or if we will be having the BFA show, it is extremely heartbreaking and unfair, as every single art/design senior prior to this has gotten the chance to showcase their work. Furthermore, the BFA show is required as part of our degree in order to graduate, so I am not sure how the school will work around this and accommodate for that. I have heard that, if the show will still happen, that it may not happen until summer, or even sometime this fall depending on how everything goes,” Ray-Dye said.

Some classes are adjusting to the online environment. Pushing back due dates, changing projects to be better suited for an online adjustment, and updating students on what they are expected to do are just a few ways classes in the arts are changing.

“For my graphic design classes, some due dates have been pushed back, and my professor plans on having us submit work to IU Box and have our critiques for the projects there online. For my printmaking class, Professor Tourtillotte plans on letting us use any drawing medium we want (as drawing is the primary foundation to all printmaking) which will definitely make things a lot easier and more open-ended (with all kinds of possibilities) for his students, even though it is definitely a bummer that we can no longer do actual printmaking methods that require the studio such as with intaglio, silkscreen, and lithography where you need the press equipment and the ink/tools,” Ray-Dye said.

“It doesn’t affect me as much as it has affected others arts students. Most of my classes were lecture-based which could easily be converted online. However, I had many friends in performance-based classes that will be nearly impossible to transfer online with the same result. Most of [my classes] will just use Zoom to continue lecturing. I am not sure how my dance class is going to continue though. Everything is kind of up in the air, especially since performance students were supposed to perform their capstones and will no longer be able to in person. That is kind of the big moment you get as a senior,” Jump said.

Although seniors arts never would have guessed that this is how their final semester would have ended, this is an ever-changing situation. Students, not only in the arts, but IU wide are affected by this decision to go online.

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