By Dayanara Bullock, Viking Fusion Videographer, and Grace Snell, Viking Fusion Reporter
In order to accommodate concerns about COVID-19, the art program’s classes and events look different in 2020. Still, the program has an open gallery and a full schedule of events for the semester.
Most classes are being split in two by quantity and assigned different days for in-class instruction. When weather permits, students are also taught outdoors in tents or other locations.
Students in the Moon building, home of the visual arts at Berry, are expected to use appropriate face coverings and follow CDC guidelines for social distancing. Brad Adams, an associate professor of art at Berry, provided some clarification on the use of in-person classes, which he refers to as ‘f2f’ classes, meaning face-to-face.
“For the most part, the Art Program is using a hybrid model with alternating days of f2f and remote instruction,” Adams said in an email to Viking Fusion. “When possible to do so safely, some classes are held entirely f2f in classrooms, in tents, and other outdoor locations.”
According to Visiting Professor Dennis Ritter, art professors face several unique challenges due to COVID-19 restrictions. These include getting art materials to students and finding ways to encourage a uniquely social and creative environment in art classrooms.
An interview with professor Dennis Ritter of the art program. He discusses both the downsides and positives of 2020’s COVID-19 regulations at Berry.
However, the unusual year has also brought benefits to art classes. Ritter said that deadlines have become more flexible, and that students feel more comfortable critiquing other students’ projects online than they do in person.
On top of all this, Ritter said having fewer students in each class has positive impacts on the classroom environment.
“In a normal class period, I try to talk to every student for at least five minutes in a class period, if not more,” Ritter said. “I have more time one-on-one with individual students than I normally would, which has been surprisingly good in a lot of ways.”
Over the summer, the fine arts department hosted an online exhibition of student work, though this student exhibition is usually held in person. Future events at the Moon gallery, however, will be similar to how they were before the pandemic.
Currently, the Moon gallery is hosting an exhibition of works by Alex Kraft, a professor at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. The exhibition, titled “Function & Flora in Flux,” runs until October 8, and includes ceramic sculptures that mix function and abstract design.
The exhibition began with an artist’s talk at the Evans auditorium. Only 50 students were allowed to attend the event in person, however, due to room capacity and social distancing concerns. Other students tuned into the event through the Zoom video meeting platform.
Later in the semester, the Moon gallery will host a juried exhibition from Western Carolina University professor Heather Mae Erickson, more details to come.