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Blugold art & design students step outside the classroom ... and the state

| Denise Olson

The department of art & design offers a variety of travel opportunities for students to expand and diversify their studies in the visual and performing arts. In what can often be a life-changing experience, these faculty-led trips connect undergraduate studies with the practices of professionals. For some students these excursions may be required in order to develop a more holistic and global perspective on contemporary art and design beyond the Chippewa Valley. The department hosts three annual field trips to regional and national destinations — typically Minneapolis, Chicago and New York City. Regional trips are open to all UWEC students, faculty and staff, and the community.

During the 2016 fall semester, art and design students traveled to Chicago for a weekend immersion program. They experienced art at established venues including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as newer locales such as the Smart Museum of Art, the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Oriental Institute. Students also enjoyed opportunities to venture off on their own, connecting with alumni at graduate programs in the Chicago metro area, or exploring other commercial galleries and local architecture.

Spring break in recent years offers art and design students a weeklong immersive field study experience in New York City. Throughout the week they learn to navigate the city and explore a wide variety of cultural venues, memorials and architectural landmarks. Students are able to explore a wide array of art venues. They take in all the art hot spots — the major museums including the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; for-profit, private art galleries in the Chelsea area district; and nonprofit venues such as the Drawing Center and the Earth Room enhanced their understanding of the art world. As a supplemental experience students also visit with professional artists in studio. Past professional studio visits included meeting Nick Lamia, Claire Sherman, Sam Weber and Janaina Tschape.

A final 2017 excursion was an April daytrip to Minneapolis. While many students have traveled to the Twin Cities on their own, this trip is an experience beyond exploring museums by yourself. In addition to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Walker Art Center this year, students connected with department alumni at the brand new Coming Soon Art Gallery.

Additional experiences vary year to year, and can include visits to the University of Minnesota’s graduate programs in the visual arts, contemporary art and performance galleries, traditional galleries and possibly studio visits.

Every year the department continues to offer travel opportunities to benefit UWEC students and the community. Learning the impact and practices of art beyond local venues is a prospect not to be missed!