Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Interdisciplinary workshops celebrate chance to learn, create, explore

The latest exhibition at the University Gallery featured creations from a unique series of interdisciplinary workshops. (Photo by Coco McKown ’04, ’10)

The University Art Gallery recently hosted a new kind of show. Instead of featuring artwork by a University of Redlands faculty member, visiting artist, or class of graduating art majors, the display put the spotlight on creations made by participants of a unique series of interdisciplinary workshops held this fall.

“We wanted to open up the gallery and do things we haven’t done before,” said Studio Art Professor Munro Galloway. “From the outset, the idea was to have it be not just for students but for faculty, administrative people, and anyone with a relationship to the university.”

To Galloway’s delight, individuals from across the campus and city—including graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, parents, and community members representing a variety of backgrounds—were drawn to each of the three two-day events.

While some credit was offered for the courses, which were led by Galloway, Visiting Professor Sadie Red Wing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Professor Mark Kumler, none of them were graded. Galloway noted, “In terms of like teaching art, sometimes that's the best way, so people don't feel like there's a predetermined outcome.”

Vibrating boundaries

Studio Art Professor Munro Galloway leads an exploration of color theory and practice in his workshop How to Do Things with Color. (Photo by Carlos Puma)

In the first workshop, titled How to Do Things with Color, Galloway led participants through an exploration of color theory and practice, including the perception of color, the social and cultural coding of color, and the relationship of color to emotion and meaning.

Students worked on projects that demonstrated how the quality of color depends on its surroundings, and how color mixes in completely different ways depending on whether it’s material (such as paint) or light (such as a rainbow). One project with construction paper paired complementary colors, so the boundaries between them danced and vibrated.

“As a painting student, I use color constantly,” says Katherine Balestrieri ’18. “The How to Do Things with Color workshop made available for me different ways of thinking about color fundamentally. How can we say that one blue is the bluest? [We] were able to learn how to manipulate color and recognize in everyday life what certain colors can do to other colors, as well as what they can do to us as viewers.”

A canvass for activism

Red Wing, formerly of Native student programs and now a faculty member in the Art Department, led the second workshop, Big and Bold: Art Practice and Social Justice.

One group in the Big and Bold: Art Practice and Social Justice class worked on blank, white coveralls. (Photo by Coco McKown ’04, ’10)

“There is a lot of interest in social justice, in designing for the social good, on campus,” said Red Wing, “so I thought focusing on that would be an interesting conversation.”

Professor Sadie Red Wing poses with her students’ creations. (Photo by Coco McKown '04, '10)

The workshop introduced participants to the work of several artists in the field, including Adam Delmarcelle, Nikki Juen, and Antoinette Caroll. For the hands-on portion, the class split into three groups. The first group worked on pieces to be shown on a projector. The second worked on design to go on top of blank, white coveralls.

The third group worked on Cards Against Brutality, an activity from the Creative Reaction Lab at St. Louis that resembles the game of Mad Libs. In this case, the sentences with blanks were “My parents/classmate/stranger/oppressor may think I’m ____, but I’m really ____.” When the students were done, some of the finished cards read, “A stranger may think I am crazy, but really I’m stressed”; “A classmate may think I’m quiet and shy but really I’m uncomfortable, tired of eyes on me constantly”; and “My classmate, friend, parents think I’m a ‘mess,’ but really I’m not who they wanted me to be.”

Julie Loffer ’21, who worked on the card project, said, “I got  an understanding of how hard it is for people to answer those questions! I had a hard time finding volunteers, so when I went to pick up my 7-year-old from school, her friends were happy to fill out a card. Children aren’t afraid yet.”

Quilting maps

Kumler taught the final workshop, Art of Effective Map Design.

Professor Mark Kumler (back left) works with students in the The Art of Effective Map Design workshop. (Photo by Carlos Puma)

“Munro and I discovered that we give very similar lectures on color theory and the use of color and illustrations, even though we were from opposite sides of campus—literally and figuratively,” said Kumler, whose workshop brought together a mix of master’s GIS students and undergraduates from other fields, including art.

The class was divided into three teams and tasked with making a “quilt map”—literally stitching together their individual perspectives represented on single tiles into a whole map of Redlands, California, or the Americas.

“I would have never thought of the concept [of a quilt map], and I enjoyed the workflow process,” said MS GIS student Andrew Cherna. “It was fun to work with two very capable art students who made some stylistic tiles that turned out great. It was also cool to work with the beta version of the ESRI vector style editor, which we ended up using to make two of the tiles in the quilt.”

A quilt map of the Americas brings together participants’ diverse approaches into a whole. (Image courtesy of Andrew Cherna)

With the successful fall workshop series now behind them, Galloway, Red Wing, and Kumler hope to continue to build interdisciplinary collaborations across campus and explore new ways to teach and create.

Read more about the studio art, spatial studies, and Native Student Programs at the U of R.