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Clemson Curates: Experience through Exhibition
By: Emily Gach, Lacey Firestone and Lea Anna Cardwell
Clemson Curates is a program designed to increase collaboration across the University community and to promote the arts throughout the region. Faculty partner with the Clemson Center for Visual Arts to teach experiential-learning classes in which students learn to write in multimodal contexts and for a real-world audience, all while promoting civic engagement.
The Clemson Curates program welcomes students and faculty from all disciplines and supports the University-wide initiative to emphasize writing across the disciplines. The interdisciplinary program was designed to teach Clemson students of all majors how to construct practical arguments and how to consider visual rhetoric and the arts from multiple perspectives. John Morgenstern, Faculty Fellow and Clemson Curates project facilitator, led an undergraduate Honors Accelerated English Composition Course in fall 2014 that partnered with The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia to host an art exhibit on Clemson’s campus. The students were responsible for conceptualizing, organizing, curating and promoting an exhibition of regional MFA artwork called Corporeal Complexities: Bodies in Process, which ran in the Lee Gallery from December 10 to January 30, 2015. Constructing and curating the exhibit allowed students to develop arguments around which works should be included in the exhibit, how the works should be displayed, and how the exhibit should be promoted — a form of argumentation that students are not exposed to in everyday classes. Morgenstern’s course provided an experiential service-learning opportunity by teaching students hard skills like how to work with Adobe design tools, how to write press releases and how to develop and execute a marketing strategy, as well as soft skills like professionalism and collaboration.
The interdisciplinary program was designed to teach Clemson students of all majors how to construct practical arguments and how to consider visual rhetoric and the arts from multiple perspectives.
Through curating the exhibit, students were able to serve the community by bringing culture to Clemson. Morgenstern explained, “Our partnership with The High Museum increases the visibility of Clemson as a regional leader in the arts. I believe that the arts can strengthen community, which I count as among the many successes of the course.”
Meredith Ellis on Clemson Curates…
Every student in Clemson Curates was assigned one or two artists to collaborate with in order to create a write up and description on their piece in the gallery. Each student also had one or two additional tasks that they worked on, ranging from media announcements, to web site creation, to photography! I was fortunate enough to be in charge of photography, so I carried around a big camera and snapped students and artists all day.
It wasn’t quite that simple, but the goal of the photography team was to photograph the process of putting the exhibit together, so that we could share photos on Facebook, Twitter and in press releases. I also was able to meet with some of the artists and snap pictures in their studios, as well as when they put their art on display. Some of the tasks that came along with role of photography included compiling head-shots, creating a Flickr for all the students to access photos, group shots, taking pictures of the gallery as pieces were added and choosing photographs for the website and press releases.
Each student chose different roles on different teams. This was incredibly successful because each student had to ability to work on something that interests them. I had two other students who assisted me in photography, as well as any other tasks they were assigned. My favorite part of this class was the end result. All too often, we are unable to see how scholarly work is applied in the “real world.” Having the opportunity to actually make this exhibit come to life and see our work on the walls was incredible. I invited my family to come see the exhibit, even though my contributions were very small.
My favorite part of this class was the end result. All too often, we are unable to see how scholarly work is applied in the “real world.” Having the opportunity to actually make this exhibit come to life and see our work on the walls was incredible.
Q & A with Joseph Litts…
Q: What did you consider your role to be within Clemson Curates?
A: From a literal perspective, I served as a P.R. contact/coordinator and as a project manger, ensuring that everyone had access to what they needed when they needed it.
Q: What do you value most from your experience within Clemson Curates?
A: My career goal is to be a curator, so Clemson Curates provided me with practice. It also helped me to realize that I did not want to be on the non-curatorial career path that I had been.
Q: What were two or three major tasks you took on within the project?
A: Within the project, I worked on the main press release and coordinating the contact information between our media platforms and the gallery at Clemson. I also worked on several catalogue entries for artists who had their work exhibited, and I worked to edit and revise some of the social media posts before they were uploaded
Written By: Emily Gach
Emily Gach, a junior at Clemson University, is pursuing Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Writing and Publication studies, as well as a Business Administration minor. She is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Written By: Lacey Firestone
Lacey Firestone, a junior at Clemson University, is perusing a Marketing major with a Management minor here at Clemson. She is originally from a small town in Rhode Island. She is also is a Brand Ambassador for a shoe company started by a Clemson alumnus. In addition, she serves as Chancellor for the largest Professional Business Fraternity on campus, Delta Sigma Pi, and is member of the Marketing Student Advisory Board as well as the Clemson University Business and Behavioral Science Leadership Committee
Written By: Lea Anna Cardwell
Lea Anna Cardwell is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program. Through her assistantship with The Pearce Center for Professional Communication, Lea Anna manages the Pearce Internship program and has acted as the project manager for Synergy from Fall 2014 through Spring 2016. Lea Anna is graduating in May 2016 and will be joining Adobe as Corporate PR Specialist in San Jose, CA.