Anchor Staff Writer
Between classes and meetings at Rhode Island College, I spend quite some time on campus. I don’t often see much art displayed. One could say there’s a bunch if you take the time to look. Most students who aren’t taking art courses do not see the wonderful work that students in art courses make and produce. Whether it be paintings, drawings, photographs or any other form of art, we need to see more of it around campus and within our buildings.
One place that could use some artwork is the Dining Hall. Most students, especially those who live on campus, go through this building. Truth be told, the only artwork I see is on water bottles that the dining hall sells. This is not RIC student art. There is artwork displayed in the library, but it’s not stated if it's student art, which is an issue. We don’t know if any art is student art, when we rarely see it displayed anyway.
People might take some time to look at a photograph to appreciate its beauty and the creativity it took for the photographer to capture such a picture if displayed. The same goes for drawings, paintings and other forms of art. We shouldn’t just expect to see art in buildings where art classes take place. Art is not always as impactful to an artist themselves as it is to their audience. Artists view art in ways that others do not and if an artist wants their work to impact a wide range of people, their work needs to leave the inside circle. Art does not just resonate with the artists themselves. It can have meaning to just about anyone, we should give everyone the opportunity to find meaning in student art.
Every hall and every building needs some display of artwork for students to view. Walking upstairs, waiting for the elevator, or walking in the hallways to get to class, all these areas lack the wonderful artwork that our students produce. Seeing so many blank white walls can be depressing. If we want students to know that there are some extremely talented and diverse artists on campus, we need to show off their work.
This also plays into the academic environment of RIC. A study in the late 1950’s by Heinrich Frieling shows that “white walls depicted an environment that was “empty” and had “no vitality”. This goes to show that blank white walls create an atmosphere of emptiness that makes our campus feel boring and devoid of energy and creativity. We know that this college has extremely creative and energetic minds at work. It can be seen in the few art pieces that are displayed on campus. They are beautiful and full of life and meaning. Looking at the blank walls in hallways, one would never know the creativity that goes on within classrooms. Why can’t we see more of this in classrooms and in the hallways? While it might be exceedingly difficult to put art in every single classroom on campus, main areas such as the dining hall, the student union and common areas outside of classrooms are good places to start.
The Art of Education University, says “If we want our students to believe they are artists, it is important to give them a venue to make them feel that way.” This is a huge driving point why we need to see more art on this campus. If no one is showing off the art RIC students create, they might feel like their efforts and arduous work were in vain. Before higher education, public education pride themselves on having student artwork displayed on almost every single inch of the walls, especially in elementary school. Why is it that we see pride for art in kids ages 6-11, but we aren’t seeing said pride in young adults and higher education students? We need to create a space for our students to know that their work is valued and that we appreciate their challenging work. If no one gets to see these pieces, it will become difficult to get an idea of the kind of artwork RIC students are able to produce.