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Performing Arts

Inside the World of Art, Through the Eyes of Students


Art piece titled Untitled by Riku Iwanami, a student at Rockland Community College.

SUNY students are revolutionizing the way we look at art, begging the question “What does art look like in 2019?”

Today we see many more works of graphic art created than ever before. Although different than the hand-drawn, technique-dependent, traditional art, graphic art gives students the ability to be creative in art and also have technical skills that are applicable to a wide range of fields. SUNY is meeting these demands with over 50 undergraduate programs specializing in New Media and Graphic Design.

Elizabeth Heldewig, student at SUNY Rockland, created Otterkill by joining digital photography and ink drawings through Photoshop. “By taking a wide variety of art classes at SUNY Rockland, I have found a true love for drawing, painting and photography. In Color Photography 1, I found a way to combine all three,” Heldewig said.

Art piece titled Otterkill by Elizabeth Heldewig of Rockland Community College.

Otterkill by Elizabeth Heldewig of Rockland Community College.

We sat with Jennifer Laurson, Senior Fellow for Arts and Humanities Policy at the Rockefeller Institute of Government and coordinator of SUNY student art exhibitions, to discuss the future of art in an rapidly modernizing world. “There is still an expectation that an artist master their chosen medium, but that medium might be mixed-media or art-tech,” Laursen said, “The boundaries between disciplines are flexible.  Today the idea matters more than the medium. Works that make the viewer think, and compel them to return and look deeper, are especially valued in the current art world.”

SUNY students are creating works like that every day. Take “Torn in Two” by Traci Johnson, student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, for example. “When I paint, at my core, my perspective shifts,” Johnson said, “It displays how emotional I am or may not be, and how I feed that; how sharp around the edges I am and how I use my spontaneity to its fullest.” It is pieces like this that spectators can look at for hours and still discover new elements.

Art piece titled Torn in Two by by Traci Johnson, student at FIT

“Torn in Two” by by Traci Johnson, student at FIT.

Through experiential learning, we can give students like Elizabeth and Tracy the exposure and experience to be successful upon graduation. In addition to private exhibits in the Governor’s office in Washington D.C., Chancellor’s Residence, and Psychological Services Center, exhibits are open to the public in:

Now being featured with these exhibits will be gallery guides, serving as programs of all the art work on display, including photographs of the art, perspectives by the artists, and the names of the artists and their pieces. In addition to increasing exposure for the artists, these gallery guides provide students important experience describing their artistic process. Students often find themselves taking entrepreneurial opportunities after college, becoming educators, or going into industry as designers. Art as an academic endeavor requires the students to learn how to think about their art and speak for it in order to use it in any of these external fields.

Written by Taryn Rackmyer

Taryn Rackmyer is a recent graduate of Mohawk Valley Community College, now attending the University at Albany for Public Policy. Taryn is a student assistant for SUNY's Government Relations & Marketing Department.




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