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Art without Borders

Residencies Put MICA Students on the Map

Posted 01.01.13 by mica communications

MICA students at work during the 2012 Spring Blitz in Greensboro, Alabama.

A MICA education truly knows no bounds, a fact that becomes abundantly clear as students work with others across the country and globe during these annual residencies.

Graphic Design Students Explore Rural America

 Greensboro, Alabama

For four years, faculty member Ryan Clifford '09 (Graphic Design) has been leading graphic design students on trips to rural America so they can put their social design skills to the test over spring break.

During the residency, which is aptly named Spring Blitz, students explore the town and community, visit local artists and designers, and collaborate on an ambitious design project entirely proposed and designed while students are on the ground. This past year, students traveled to Greensboro, Alabama, where they created a traditional-style mural celebrating the initiatives and projects happening on Main Street.

"One of the greatest things to come out of these residencies is the sense of community and connection that develops between the students," Clifford said. "Additionally, students form meaningful relationships with community members, who inspire, guide, and encourage them as they conceptualize and pitch their project ideas."

Pam Dorr, director of the Hale Empowerment & Revitalization Organization, Inc. (HERO) in Greensboro, agrees. "The community is so inspired by what the students had done," she said, explaining how the mural energized local residents to form a group that built flower planters and a visitor kiosk downtown. "Four new shops have opened downtown, and there is so much buzz and pride in town!"

Students will once again return this March to Greensboro over spring break to work on a new community building project. Clifford said the community provides the perfect location because of the many great design initiatives in the area and because the town provides a welcoming, supportive environment.

Sound Art Students Create and Perform Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

As part of the Sound Art Concentration at MICA, interaction design & art faculty members Jason Sloan and Erik Spangler have been collaborating with the Studio for Electro- Instrumental Music (STEIM) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Operating for nearly 40 years,

STEIM is the only live music center in the world dedicated exclusively to electronic music in the performing arts.

Prior to taking part in an annual residency over spring break, students proposed projects for unique electronic instruments they would create at STEIM, which were then used in a public performance at the end of the residency. The residency also included daily workshops, lectures, and consultations with the STEIM staff.

"We were the first undergraduate group ever to do a week intensive program at STEIM," Sloan said. "The STEIM folks were highly impressed by the caliber of our students and their work ethic."

This spring break, a new batch of sound art students will travel to Amsterdam to collaborate with STEIM. To hear last year's performance and watch a video about the process, visit sound.mica.edu.

Fiber Class Collaborates with Students in Rotterdam

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Last year, fiber faculty member Annet Couwenberg inaugurated the International Collaboration: Wearable Technology class, in which students from MICA and Willem de Kooning Academie (WdKA) in Rotterdam, Netherlands, began working together to explore material properties and technological applications in a research lab-like environment. Students from both schools had the chance to analytically explore the design of smart textiles, or interactive, wearable electronic fabrics.

To further their research across cross-cultural bounds, students from MICA and WdKA have been sharing references, presentations, videos, and images online. In January, they will have the chance to meet face-to-face during a weeklong residency in the Netherlands. While there, students will conduct workshops and give presentations of their work, which will be showcased as part of a project titled Unravel the Code during the Couture Graphique exhibition at the Museum of The Image (MOTI) in Breda, Netherlands, through August 2013.

When asked about the importance of sharing knowledge and resources, Couwenberg explained, "Textile design and production is a critical human endeavor, with social, environmental, and economic implications. New textiles continually change the face of fashion, sports, habitats, medicine, and industry."

Students and Recent Alumni Earn Prestigious Skowhegan Residencies

Skowhegan, Maine

Established in 1946, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine offers a nineweek summer residency program for emerging visual artists. Each year, a gifted and diverse group of individuals come together to live in converted cottages set on a large lake and take part in one of the most transformative, validating, and rigorous artmaking experiences available. MICA participates in a matching program that offers funding to members of the MICA community who are accepted to the residency.

"We're thrilled to have talented students representing MICA each summer," Associate Dean for Graduate Studies Erin Jakowski said. "We look forward to see what they accomplish, and we have brought Skowhegan alumni back to speak about their experiences."

Recent residents include Misha Capecchi '12 (Mount Royal School of Art), Jonathan Duff '12 (Mount Royal), and Evan Boggess '11 (LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting), who shipped out to the school almost immediately after graduation. "It was the best thing that could have happened to me," recalled Boggess.

Architectural and Environmental Design Students Gain Global Perspective in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh

This winter, Architectural and Environmental Design Department Chair Timmy Aziz will lead a two-week trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh in conjunction with the Architecture & Design Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students from both schools will explore the environmental problems that challenge sustainability in the urban and rural areas of the country.

"Students who are interested in creating sustainable environments will gain an invaluable global perspective from this trip and have a unique learning experience at the very front lines of the contemporary plight of sustainability," Aziz explained.

During the residency, students will meet with local experts of environmental and urban issues, as well as architectural and cultural history. They will conduct field visits to historically and architecturally significant areas of Dhaka, the capital city, as well as the southern city of
Khulna and the coastal region of Bangladesh. Follow along online at bangladeshtravelstudy.wordpress.com.


Image captions (top to bottom): MICA students at work during the 2012 Spring Blitz in Greensboro, Alabama; Students create unique electronic instruments at the Studio for Electro- Instrumental Music (STEIM) in Amsterdam; MICA students work on smart textiles projects in preparation for their work to be featured in an exhibition in Breda, Netherlands; The studio space of Evan Boggess '11 (LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting) at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; A girl looks through a window in Bangladesh. (Photo by Timmy Aziz).