NYC Field Trip Inspires Art Students to Experiment With Their Work
Students traveled to New York to spend five full days viewing and studying a broad range of art
December 18, 2017
In October, 20 art students traveled to New York for the annual NYC field trip, led by professors Peter Everett and Collin Bradford. The primary goal for the trip, which spanned five days, was for students to engage with contemporary art in a major art center while also deepening their understanding of the history of art.
“We wanted our students’ ideas about art to be challenged, for their personal artistic explorations to be energized and for them to grow as artists,” Everett said.
For BFA participant Sadie Dodson, one highlight of the trip was the opportunity to spend 100 percent of her time exploring the contemporary art scene with peers whose passion for art matches her own. She estimates she visited more than 50 museums and galleries in the short time they were there.
Dodson said the New York trip marked the first time a piece of art literally left her breathless. “When I walked into the room where Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party sits, I had to stop for a few seconds to catch my breath,” she said. As an artist who explores perceptions of women, Dodson said she felt inspired by Chicago’s dedication to the piece and her ability to highlight the importance of individual women throughout history.
“When I walked into the room where Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party sits, I had to stop for a few seconds to catch my breath”
“I stayed looking at the piece and reading the plaques for two hours, which is something I had never done before,” Dodson said. “It was really an art practice-changing experience for me. I felt grateful to be a strong woman, to have strong women in my life, and I felt inspired to make art about those women.”
Outside of visiting museums and galleries, students engaged with the city through cultural activities that challenged their perspectives. Steven Stallings, a student whose recent personal work examines the construction and deconstruction of individual identities, said that immersing himself in the diversity of New York helped him find better answers to his own questions.
“Observing and experiencing so much diversity in a city saturated to its fullness had a huge impact on me,” Stallings said. “Eating different foods and talking to different people, learning about their daily routines and all the different elements that have contributed to their unique identities – just seeing that was very cool.”
“Observing and experiencing so much diversity in a city saturated to its fullness had a huge impact on me.”
Dodson agreed that an important result of the field trip is a greater willingness to experiment with new ideas.
“I was really inspired in New York as I saw work from artists at different points in their careers and recognized the progress they had made and the broad range of ideas they had explored,” Dodson said. “Each show is a checkpoint, not an endpoint. I felt much more confident in my abilities to continue to stretch and grow in art.”
The cost of the New York field trip was defrayed in part by experiential learning funding. For more information about the university’s experiential learning initiative, see President Worthen’s Inspiring Learning address.
Priscilla Stewart will present her research on place- and ecology-based education at the National Art Education Association’s National Convention, the premier conference for K12 art educators and university researchers