AU Art and Design department to host free studio experience

Isabella Pacinelli , Features Editor

For the past five years, Ashland University’s Art and Design Department has offered a free studio experience for current high school students interested in art.

This year’s event will be held in the Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 11 from 9:15 a.m.-4 p.m. with lunch and art materials provided.

The last day to register for the event is April 16.

With the help of AU art alumni, a unique poster is created every year to market this opportunity, explained the art department chair, Dan McDonald.

“We then send them out to every high school in the state with all the information about what we are doing,” he said.

The event application became available in October and there are presently about 45 students registered.

McDonald came up with the idea for the studio experience as a way to recruit students and educate people on the art program at AU, he said.

“I don’t assume that everybody will come to Ashland to study art,” McDonald said. “I just want them to know that we’re here.”

He acknowledges that many students who register for this event are set on art school, however, AUs program has its advantages, he said.

“The liberal arts are what inform why you would make art and what you would make art about,” McDonald said.

The course offerings include printmaking and illustration, digital art, sculpture, ceramics, painting and drawing.

At the time of registration, students are able to choose three areas of preferred study and they will participate in two of them, with each course being two and a half hours long.

“Once we have the full list, I have to go and figure out how I can arrange the class times,” McDonald said.

Cynthia Petry, art professor and director of the Coburn Art Gallery, sees this event as a good opportunity to expand knowledge and discover what college is like.

They will learn of the certain level of freedom given to students, she said.

“Here you may have an assignment and it is to teach you a skill, but the content and what you are doing is yours,” Petry said.

She added that the studio experience is a fun way for the department to show off its strength.

“It is a fun day where students can explore with other artists,” Petry said. “They can be creative.”

Both McDonald and Petry enjoy and look forward to this event.

“These are things that we don’t often have time for because everyone’s got classes and schedules to keep up with,” McDonald said. “But if we are willing to invest time in showing up for a day like this, we are invested in making art.”