Campus News

UK Students Find 'Pathways to Creativity' Through Art



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 9, 2011) − Students from across the University of Kentucky campus are exploring their creative side through a UK Core course titled "Pathways to Creativity in the Visual Arts," led by Marty Henton. As the course comes to a close, these students turned artists will display their response to artist Marjorie Guyon's "Nation of Nations." An opening reception will be presented in recognition of the students' exhibition of banners from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, at the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will be on display through the end of January 2012.

The "Pathways to Creativity" exhibit features a dozen 30-inch-by- 6-foot banners created by groups in three sections of the course for their final class assignment.

In preparation for the art project, students were asked to respond to Marjorie Guyon's "Nation of Nations." The public art project includes a series of 10 works embodying the spirit of many different peoples and creeds: Incan, Kenyan, Mexican, Moroccan, Cherokee, Hindu, Hebrew, Creole, Arab and Russian. Each panel features a 6-foot-8-inch figure and the phrase, "Have Mercy on Us," is written in a different language: Cherokee, Chinese, English, Arabic, Hindi, Hebrew, Swahili, Latin, Russian and Haitian Creole.  In addition the titles of the 10 paintings echo the anthems, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" and "America the Beautiful."

In preparation for creating the banners, students visited the work currently on display at William T. Young Library. They also met with the artist and learned about her concept for the project, how she created the banners with regard to imagery, symbol and the actual materials. 

As part of their response to Guyon's work, the student groups created phrases that captured the spirit of their community and how it could make the university a better place. "The overarching theme is recreated from the new UK Core — Arts and Creativity outcomes and centers around the question 'how do we nourish a more creative and dynamic culture at our university for all learners?'" says UK Art Education Area Head Marty Henton, at the UK Department of Art in the UK College of Fine Arts.

Similar to "Nation of Nations," the students then translated a common phrase for all sections, "Create a Better Place,” into languages and visual symbols that express their message to viewers on a two-dimensional piece of art. The languages represented in the panels are Nigerian, Japanese, Greek, Gaelic, Arabic, Italian, French Canadian, English, Cambodian, Portuguese, French and Spanish.

In addition to creating their banners, students created a "voicethread" on the final installation online where they responded with text, audio or video to the banners. The class had previously participated in a "voicethread" on "Nation of Nations." Visitors to the exhibition, which will remain up into January, will also have the opportunity to react to the students' work in a "voicethread."

The "Pathways to Creativity" exhibit was made possible through a collaborative effort between Henton and Gail Kennedy, director of Little Fine Arts Library; Randolph Hollingsworth, assistant provost for the Division of Undergraduation Education; Adcolor; artist Marjorie Guyon; and the students.

The "Pathways to Creativity in the Visual Arts," is a UK Core course that was designed to provide students with various tools for understanding creativity through actively engaging in the process of making art, talking about art, and looking at personal learning styles that connect the student to creative expression and visual literacy.

Over the fall semester, students in Henton's three sections of the course explored learning styles, transformation by drawing and photo manipulation, mind-mapping and visual literacy. Fifty-eight undergraduate students participated in the course from all walks of campus, including the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Communication and Information Studies, Design, Education and Nursing, as well as Fine Arts. Three more sections of the course "Pathways to Creativity in the Visual Arts" were led by Beth Ettensohn.

UK Core, the university's new general education curriculum, aims to prepare students with the critical thinking skills they need to succeed in a competitive global economy. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or