For some students, the shift to online instruction may have made their classwork easier than before but for others, it’s put a strain on their education. Art students in particular have the same classwork they had on campus, some with a few modified projects due to lack of access to campus facilities, but the same struggles remain.
“The move online impacted me in an almost negative way. Being home gives me a lot more time to do work and not have to travel to class. Yet being home means I have to help out around the house and puts strain on my studies,” said sophomore fine arts major Nicole Gruenwald.
This time can be especially stressful and maybe even a bit sad for graduating seniors.
“I'm a graduating senior, so moving online has been disappointing because I was really looking forward to making the most out of the time that I still had on campus and spending time with people that I have grown to love and care about. I think that's been the hardest part about moving online,” said senior fine arts major Sarah Ahmer.
With online classes at home, there are different challenges students may encounter.
“For me, I have had a little bit of trouble finding space for things or space to work on stuff at home. Sometimes it's a bit difficult finding substitutes for certain equipment,” Ahmer said. “For the most part, things are going well and I've found ways to overcome the obstacles, but it isn't the most ideal situation.”
Creating in Quarantine has a different creative process than being at school. This difference may help or hinder creativity and it varies from person to person.
“Small things like lighting can occasionally be an issue because it's very hard to find a place with good, consistent lighting in my apartment. It's just a multitude of little things,” said Ahmer. For Gruenwald, the difference is in the process of creating that has changed.
“There is a lot more time to create unique art and get inspired by being in yet another place during the year. It has also been harder to create since there are no fellow art students to talk to and give each other feedback or inspiration,” said Gruenwald.
She also mentions how creating with mediums at home is different from being on campus. “Being home does put a damper on what I can do for printmaking and how my art would turn out actually printed,” said Gruenwald.
Ahmer mentions that despite the ways that being at home is harder on her work, there are positives to being at home as well.
“I can put on my records, light some candles, and work in silence for a while. I feel more focused than I was when I had a lot of other things going on in my life. I would also get distracted by friends and other stuff going on in my classes, so being removed from all of that has made me a little more productive,” said Ahmer.
Being at home, for some, can mean that there’s an increase of free time throughout the day. This can inspire students to be more creative.
“Right before I left to come back home, I picked up some charcoal and oil pastels after doing a workshop the last Thursday of in person classes that helped inspire me to create again,” said Gruenwald.
For others, the added amount of time may feel like a burden.
“I do feel like I should be creating during this time. Being quarantined aside, I do feel guilty if I'm not doing anything I consider productive in my free time," said Ahmer.
Art students are still required to be creating various projects for their classes.
Ahmer shares her most recent project: “Oddly enough, a lot of the work I was working on before quarantine was about isolation and solitude, so in a way, it's kind of helped inspire new art within that same vein. I do a lot of photography and I've started doing paintings that relate to those themes,” said Ahmer.
Gruenwald also has projects that are to be done for classes and explains her progress: “My most recent art project has been a small linoleum block for printmaking that I have figured out a drawing for a week ago by accident. One night I cut a thin piece of my watercolor paper about three inches wide and started to draw a girl looking up,” Gruenwald said. “The next day I realized that the watercolor drawing I made was the same size as my block. It blew my mind because the last few months I felt like I haven’t been as creative as I had been before.”
Art can serve many purposes whether it be an outlet, a class assignment, or just something fun to do. For Gruenwald it tends to be therapeutic.
“Art in my day- to-day life does help me cope with thoughts that have been in the back of my mind for months. It gives a space to relieve that weight and feelings from your mind,” Gruenwald said. “Art is such an expressive outlet for interpretation of your life struggles, successes or even the fun times in life.”