Andrea De Leon hangs one of the final paintings of the large-scale art at Georgia Gwinnett College’s student center. (Special Photo)
LAWRENCEVILLE — Carolina Blatt-Gross figured if her Georgia Gwinnett College art students were involved in original art work, they would connect more with their course content and environment.
The finished products of that idea now hang on the second floor of the GGC Student Center, the school’s Center for Teaching Excellence and the School of Liberal Arts’ dean’s suite. Blatt-Gross’ students created the first permanent art installation at the Lawrenceville college that feature bright and vibrant colors, according to a news release.
“Most students take art appreciation to meet a core requirement, so participating in the full arc of artistic production from conceptualization to installation seemed a great way to make the content more meaningful,” said Blatt-Gross, an assistant professor of art. “Students tend to be more invested in their campus and have more positive feelings toward it if they have some control over its appearance.”
Four classes participated in the project that took about six weeks to finish the art that was designed using acrylic paint on canvas for nine works. Blatt-Gross said she hoped the project caused her students to better communicate in visual terms. The students also participated in a critique where all of the proposed designs were discussed and voted on.
Linda Rakowiecki, a 48-year-old psychology major from Lawrenceville, created one of the winning concepts: an abstract piece featuring grizzly bears in a range of colors.
“In anything you do, you need to learn skills, practice them, and be able to deal with mistakes in order to perfect them,” Rakowiecki said. “That’s a lesson that can be applied to multiple areas in the learning process and life in general.”
Blatt-Gross said students worked in diverse groups, and learned how to compromise, solve problems, build something hands-on and recognize the importance of details.
“While the artistic skills they gain may be useful, it’s the nature of thinking required to navigate this complex project that is the ultimate benefit,” Blatt-Gross said. “This project helps students develop divergent modes of problem solving using a perspective that is often alien to the linear, positivist thinking favored by the STEM disciplines.”
Blatt-Gross repeated the project this semester, and said students’ “minds are blown” when they see art transform a blank wall into a dynamic space.
“I feel that everyone has some sort of artistic potential, that when discovered, can grow into something that can be carried on throughout life,” said Brandon Pineda, a student from Norcross. “The project is relevant for all of GGC’s student body because art is a strong and wide subject that should be in everyone’s life in some way, giving insight on themselves as artists as well as their potential.”