Associate Professor of Art Jim Sconyers was teaching two studio art classes when the global pandemic hit: ART 122 Silkscreen Printing and ART 124 Photography/Printmaking. Here’s how he enabled his students to keep making art.
“The sudden transition to ‘remote studio instruction’ caused a bit of whiplash — it knocked me off my feet,” said Sconyers. “I reached out to colleagues at Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Asheville, and Washington & Lee seeking consultation and solutions. I was inspired.”
Sconyers assembled and shipped packages of supplies to his 17 printmaking and photography students across the United States and as far away as Japan and South Korea. MBU printmakers are now silkscreening at home, and photo students are exposing cyanotypes, following new instructional videos that Sconyers has posted on YouTube.
This method is time-intensive, but worth it. Planning content and recording and editing the videos takes more time than the actual workshops, Sconyers said.
His students are running with the supplies and the inspiration, creating in their yards and on their kitchen tables.
First-year student Kaiden Scanlon is in Sconyers’ photography class, and at first she too struggled with the transition to online learning.
“I have been missing all the hands on-activities and carefully planned lessons my professors had planned on assigning,” she said, “but Prof. Sconyers has found a way to extend the fun hands-on work we did in every class period to my home environment.”
Students have been sharing their finished creations not only with Sconyers, but also with each other.
“Explaining our process and thinking together online helps the whole class stay not only hands-on but also involved, connected with, and inspired by each other,” Scanlon said. “I think Prof. Sconyers has beautifully transitioned us into the at-home environment and made it very easy to be successful going forward.”