Spotlight ELAS: Art and Engagement During the Pandemic
To prepare for the first full semester in the pandemic, Beka created videos of herself modelling silkscreening techniques and pivoted toward remote teaching via Zoom. But as all things ELAS, the focus wasn’t just on the practice of silkscreening, but how students could apply their coursework to community action.
The Print II students collaborated with the Bard Cares team to create vibrant signs about social distancing and mask wearing. They also worked with Lisa Sanditz’s Painting II: Social Change course to design eye-catching signs urging Bardians to vote at the new on-campus polling place for the 2020 national election.
"We passed those signs back and forth several times over a couple of months—painting and printing on them, cutting them, putting stakes on them, and repainting them,” said Beka.
Beyond the techniques of silkscreening, the students also learned how to advocate for their own projects and build relationships with the community. Beka showed them how to navigate the paperwork for public installations and invited their help in making decisions with local partners.
"As [their] instructor I [am their] guide and help do some of the work to put things in place—I hope I have shown them what the path is."
At the end of the semester silkscreening students gave digital images and stencils to local grassroots organization Rise Up Kingston to use in its community outreach. What this represented, said Beka, was the students giving away their creativity and their art. “To work as an artist who is an activist in a mode is generous and gifting.”
Post Date: 03-14-2021