Smurfit Arts Studio Opens Studio to Campus

Photo courtesy of Jessie Estrella
THE SMURFIT Arts Center recently opened their studio to those on campus who wish to use it for art projects.

Arts and Life Editor

The Smurfit Arts Center opened the art studio for students enrolled in art classes, as well as students who are not, on Sept 8. Called “Open Studio,” the new program is for students on campus who need studio space to finish art projects or space to unwind.

According to the press release, the studio will be open for use on Fridays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. While the studio has some supplies – including paint brushes and pencils – available for use, students using open studio time are encouraged to bring their own materials.

Open Studio was developed by Dr. Josephine Dunn, director of the Arts and Music program. Inspired by the students in her art class, “Art Methods of the Old Masters,” Dunn saw that there was a need for the studio to be available to her students for the weekend.

The class is comprised of two students: Jordan Oakey and Christine Jiang. Oakey, a liberal studies major with concentrations in art, art history and education, has aspirations to become an art educator. He currently serves as the Open Studio Monitor. Jiang, an art and chemistry major, hopes to become an art restorer.

Seeing as Dunn teaches Oakey and Jiang how to do old techniques the old-fashioned way– such as making tempera paint, requiring freshly laid eggs which only stay fresh for a short period of time – their projects can be time consuming. It was this that inspired the development of Open Studio.

Photo courtesy of Jessie Estrella
JIANG DRAINING the sac of an egg yolk for its contents. The egg yolk will then be mixed with equal parts water and a couple drops of vinegar for preservation.


Photo courtesy of Jessie Estrella
JIANG MIXES the egg yolk with the colored pigment to create tempera paint.

“We had talked about doing an open studio for a long time. Because we have to use the eggs within a certain period of time, and [the class] only meets twice a week. We set up Open Studio so that Friday afternoons and Saturdays they could come in and continue to work on their projects and as long as we started doing that, it was like, ‘well, why don’t we open it for other students at the studio who have projects to do’ and then we said ‘well, why don’t we open up to everyone on campus to come in and spend as long as they want here doing their various projects,’” Dunn said.

Photo courtesy of Jessie Estrella
ONCE THE tempera paint dries, the result is a slightly textured painting.

Based on student interest, Dunn hopes to begin offering one-hour introductory art workshops, including but not limited to basics of composition, basic color theory, introduction to watercolor, collage, sculpting in clay and many others.

Interest in these workshops will be determined by surveys that students attending Open Studio will be asked to fill out. However, Dunn hopes these workshops will reach students who may want to expand on their practical art skills, not just students who have a background in art.

“On a practical level [we want to offer workshops] where students want to learn how to make a poster better, how to make their websites better,” Dunn said. “The things that we teach like color and design, shape and rhythm and balance and all those things can be useful. So, we always thought we could offer some practical workshops that students could use in their classes as well.”

While Open Studio is a place where students can finish art projects or spend time doing independent artwork, Dunn hopes it will become an inclusive space where students, those art minded and not so art minded, can have a place where creativity is recognized and valued.

“I’m hoping that students will have a place to do something like this. I think there are students who need this place and it’s time we respond to the need,” Dunn said.

Dunn also hopes that Open Studio raises awareness for the Smurfit Art Center and the University’s art program.

“I’m also thinking that if students don’t know that we have an art program that they can come up in a very relaxed way and meet other like-minded people – art people – and they may decide to take a course, [or] they might not. If they do we’d be happy to have them,” Dunn said.

Students who wish to attend Open Studio must present a valid Royal card to the Studio Monitor – Oakey – and sign in at the front desk. And again, all are welcome to attend Open Studio.

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