Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 3, 2014) — University of Kentucky students participating in "Pathways to Creativity through Visual Arts," a general education course offered as part of UK Core, are promoting awareness of factories and the people who make our clothes through a display of students’ creativity.
Visual ideas and images based on the 2013-2014 Common Reading Experience, "Where Am I Wearing?," are currently on display as part of the exhibition "Pathways to Creativity through Visual Arts Go Glocal" on the video/projection screens at The Hub, in the basement of William T. Young Library. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will be on display through April 28, 2014.
In "Where Am I Wearing?," Kelsey Timmerman argues "What happens in our community happens to the rest of the world. And what happens to the rest of the world happens to us. The global is local. The local is global. In tough times we must be global citizens as well as local citizens, neighbors and volunteers as well as donors. We need to Go Glocal."
With that inspiration in mind and in partial fulfillment of their "Pathways to Creativity" coursework, groups of UK students researched, designed and documented visual projects that integrate global ideas with their own artistic interpretations.
Under the direction of Ann Christianson, part time instructor of art; Beth Ettensohn, lecturer of art education; and Marty Henton, senior lecturer of art education, students utilized skills in visual literacy to promote global understanding.
Through the exhibition, the UK students demonstrated not only their new art skills but their research and opinions regarding the global marketplace and just how much of their clothing comes from outside the U.S.
"This art class taught me that every purchase we make here in the United States has the ability to affect the life of a child overseas. So by being aware as consumers, we have the impact to change children's lives in other countries," said broadcast journalism sophomore Andrea Richard.
To express her group's ideas about the book and concerns related to clothing made around the globe, Richard's group designed a T-shirt using the slogan "do them a favor, end child labor" that they then photoshopped into poster images of child workers from different factories worldwide.
Pre-finance freshman Isabel Edgar hopes fellow students and visitors to The Hub will take a moment to reflect on the exhibition's message depicted in the students' artwork. "I hope that they'll take time to look at the art, and they'll take time to think about where their clothes are made and how maybe they can take different steps in purchasing clothes made under free trade laws."
"Pathways to Creativity" is one of UK's Core courses. As a part of their intellectual inquiry through the Core curriculum, every UK student is required to complete coursework in the area of arts and creativity to better prepare students from a range of disciplines to "face the challenges of a dynamic society." (UK CORE Curriculum, 2010).
In addition to learning various ways to make art, the "Pathways to Creativity" course incorporates recent research on how the brain works from multiple intelligences to mind mapping to advance students' abilities to learn.
"They learn about themselves and their own individual learning style. They learn to appreciate each other's different learning styles and abilities. They learn how to generate ideas. It gives them the opportunity to find a way to draw upon different resources to think in original ways," Christianson said.
UK Core is the university's general education program, containing a set of requirements that must be completed by students of all majors in order to graduate. These requirements are focused on critical thinking, writing, reasoning, ethics and global understanding, which university faculty feel are essential for students to compete in the global marketplace.
The UK Core "Pathways to Creativity" course awakens in some students new interests and talents.
"I really have absolutely no art background, and I kind of surprised myself in this class. I really liked working with watercolors, because you kind of have the most freedom to do what you want. I actually did a painting that almost got submitted to an art contest," said business management freshman Emily Hubbard, who plans to take more art classes in the future.
Christianson enjoys watching the unique results of these new artists and how students' opinions about art transform. "They're challenged in this class to go beyond their limits. They actually come up with some of the most amazing things after they learn about some of the processes involved in creativity. It's a very exciting class to see what the students come up with."
Christianson, Ettensohn and Henton are members of the faculty at the UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts. The school is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies and art education.
For more information on the exhibit or the "Pathways to Creativity" course, contact Ann Christianson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Beth Mosher Ettensohn at email@example.com, or Marty Henton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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