Month: August 2020

Online Sculpture Walk

Outside – apart – together, the Visual and Performing Arts Outdoor Sculpture class’s online sculpture exhibit, opens today. The exhibit is an online sculpture walk, and it features work by eight student artists: Sarah Arnold, Mykaela Cayemberg, Mara Hackman, Olivia Hohnholt, Erin Mauk, Tristan Robb, Zoie Schafer, and Michael Stock. The students’ major disciplines include Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Theatre and Entertainment Technology, Medical Laboratory Science and Computer Engineering.

Students in the class, instructed by Lisa Gordillo, found inspiration for their works of art from many different places. Erin Mauk’s sculpture, “Preserving Beauty,” grew from a quote by ecologist Aldo Leopold. Mara Hackman’s work of art re-envisions Alice in Wonderland as a commentary on mental health. Tristan Robb, who’s projects were frequently inspired by the locations where they were to be installed, chose an “anxiety-inducing” space, and sought to make it more welcoming.

Students spent part of the class developing their creative process, and studying a range of artists and working styles. Artist Michael Stock says, “As I developed my creative process throughout the semester, I was learning to strike a chord between pondering my ideas, playing around, and trying to act on an idea.” It wasn’t without its challenges! Zoie Schafer created a ring of handcrafted bowls, and “there was a moment when I was setting the sixth bowl out in the sun to dry and realized there were only five. My dog had stolen the smallest bowl and eaten all of the wheatpasted paper off of it, literally eating my homework.”

The exhibit will remain online through September 1st.  Visitors may also wish to see the class gallery, where works of art from the semester are still on display. Individual projects are also featured on this VPA blog


Gordillo’s Home Studio Featured

Lisa Gordillo’s home studio is featured in a video collection created by SooVAC, The Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The video was created by SooVAC, “as a way of staying connected in a time where everything seems so far away.” Twenty-four artists’ workspaces, in the U.S. and abroad, are featured. The Soo Visual Art Center is a nonprofit art space whose mission is to connect the Minneapolis community with fresh, under-represented, provocative art. More of Gordillo’s work can also be seen on her website.

Soo Visual Arts Center’s Mission is to Connect.


Kites and Community

Visual and Performing Arts Outdoor Sculpture students spent last week making kites and holding a community (physically-distanced) picnic. Faculty member Lisa Gordillo designed this project to connect her students across the distances they’re feeling.

Students learned about a traditional Guatemalan kite – the barrilete, made Guatemalan recipes such as chilaquiles and chirmol, read works by Guatemalan writers such as Rigoberta Menchu and Antonio L. Cota Garcia, and studied paintings by Carlos Merida. The class also learned about U.S.-based artists who create community connections, such as Theaster Gates.

Student Sarah Arnold based her kite design on a mandala, then installed it in a forest. Erin Mauk was interested in Guatemala’s quetzal bird – her kite was inspired by the bird’s mythology and it’s long, flowing tail. Marah Hackman drew inspiration from Michigan’s Northern Lights.

Each student made their own barrilete, and hosted a picnic with the people in their household, then came back together to share what they made, so that everyone felt connected. Together, the students created a patchwork event – with many different things happening in different places, but everyone working together.  

The student gallery is on view until August 28. More works will be added each week.  

Artist Erin Mauk’s barrilete flying high
Sarah Arnold’s kite installed in the woods
Kite by artist Mykaela Cayemberg
A student-family picnic
Michael Stock grills tomatoes to make chirmol
Sarah Arnold’s Guatemalan tostadas