Make Yourself Make: An Art Student’s Reflection

Post by Mary Scarlett Greenway, senior art major

In January I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Europe with a great group of students – including fellow members of the art department. During our 11-day trip, we visited many great artistic and historical sites in Paris, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome.

As an art student seeking Art History credit, this was a dream. Getting to graduate on time by visiting practically the art capitals of the world seemed like cheating…and I wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. I wanted to remember every second and soak in each unique city as much as I could in such a short time.

In every city that I visited, I created a typography piece with the name of the city and held it up in front of an iconic landmark or scene (or at least, I did my best to do that – it really is hard to stop and take a picture of your journal when your leader moves at about 40 miles an hour and will leave you behind).

 

A project like this was incredibly fun and challenging – trying to capture the personality of a city in letter forms (without smudging anything on a rattling train).

In addition to my typography pieces, two other art students (Kayli Sommers and Josh Smith) and I agreed to make a conscious effort to sit down and sketch something in each city. So we did. We sketched the Arc de Triomphe, the courtyard of statues in the Louvre, Michelangelo’s statue of David in Florence, the Trevi Fountain in Rome and many others.

As an art student, the discipline of sketching things you see is often a hard one to hold yourself to – it’s at once a desire and a chore. But I cannot overstate how important and fulfilling it is to make it an instinct.

Despite all the little mistakes, I captured my experience in my journal in a way that I never could have with my camera. I remember every little side stop and place we got lost and times I almost cried (sometimes because of hunger but usually out of excitement and awe). I remember every bridge we crossed and alley we took and staircase we climbed (the stairs, the STAIRS). I remember all the shops – the little old print maker and the woman who made pigments and the aggressive leather salesmen in the streets.

Though I loved seeing every landmark and museum and cathedral, one of my favorite aspects of this trip was simply exploring the cities in our free time. My favorite city to explore was Venice by far. Never in my life have I seen such a cinematic city. Every back alley, every uneven street, every clothes line, every stretch of ivy, every hole-in-the-wall cannoli shop – they seemed so accidentally and authentically beautiful. I wanted to take all of it with me.

Hands down, I have never been on such an inspiring, exhausting, creatively stimulating trip in my life. Even if you aren’t an art student, I encourage you to draw something. Write something. Anything. Take down what you see and what you find interesting or funny or odd – no matter how trifling it seems. Don’t rely on Instagram or Facebook to keep your memories for you. Life reminds you how rare and beautiful it is when you don’t just look, but see. To my fellow art students, keep making.

day9

Follow Mary Scarlett on Instagram for more images of her impressive work: @mary.scarlett

 

Habakkuk’s Balm Art Project

Friday marked the one year anniversary of the art department’s piece, Habakkuk’s Wound, that was created to encourage the Union community to pray for one year for the martyrs in the ongoing terrorist crisis, specifically the college students who were martyred last year. As planned, the name has now been changed to declare that we do not live in vain and four trees have been planted over the red sand trench.   

HABAKKUK’S BALM

 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.

            Habakkuk 3:17-19

These trees mark the spot where Union’s art department created the piece Habakkuk’s Wound to call the university to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters overseas during the terrorist genocide that marks much of the beginning of the 21st century.  

Story by Lee Benson, photos by Kristi Woody.

To learn more about this project, read our news release about Habakkuk’s Wound.

160506_KMW_HabbakukSculpture002160506_KMW_HabbakukSculpture008160506_KMW_HabbakukSculpture018160506_KMW_HabbakukSculpture025160506_KMW_HabbakukSculpture037160506_KMW_HabbakukSculpture042

Alumna Celebrates Jackson Community

160412_KMW_KatieHowerton016

Katie Howerton said Union taught her what community is and how important it is to the lives of the people within it.

“Union taught me how to care so much about the community I was in that now I feel inclined to care for the community I’m in at work,” she said.

Howerton is the communications manager for Our Jackson Home, an organization created to celebrate the people and the stories of Jackson, Tennessee. A 2015 Union graduate, Howerton worked on the design for the Our Jackson Home magazine as her senior project.

She said in her time in the Union community, she slowly developed a love for the Jackson community. After she graduated, she said she wanted to continue working for Our Jackson Home because of the way it speaks to Jackson.

“I knew I wanted to do it, but I knew it couldn’t just be a hobby,” Howerton said.

She said Our Jackson Home was run by volunteers, and they knew that if no one took over to run it full-time, it would not last long. They asked her if she would be interested.

“It could have become just this thing that happened in 2015 if nobody took over,” Howerton said. “They said, ‘Hey, we know that you may not be super confident, but we’re confident in you, and we’re willing to take a risk.’”

Howerton said she is glad to have had Union as a training ground for her professional career.

“On top of training to be a professional, I also was given plenty of room to be creative, which was what first allowed me to come up with the idea for Our Jackson Home (magazine) and continues to allow me to run it,” she said.

Howerton said her professors at Union gave her direction, but they also set her free to follow creative ideas. She said that has helped her as she continues to develop ideas for Our Jackson Home.

“I don’t feel aimless because I don’t have specific directions,” she said. “I’m comfortable allowing room to explore.”160422_KMW_KatieWorking009160422_KMW_KatieWorking014

Students Present Research at Scholarship Symposium

More than 300 students from across Union’s campus presented research Tuesday at the Scholarship Symposium. 

160426_KMW_SymposiumPresentations005Ashley Akerson, art

Ashley presented research on the importance of African-American art. She said African-American art has been seen as insignificant or inferior, but it has had great influence on culture and art.

 “African-Americans began to develop a distinctive voice to tell the story that was different than any other American story.”

160426_KMW_SymposiumPresentations018 Gray Magee, cell and molecular biology

Gray’s research involved a regeneration method for African mahogany, an endangered tree. He researched a process called organogenesis, where hormones are added to mature leaf tissue to create calluses which can produce viable plants.

“If we can come up with a technique of organogenesis, this could have a significant impact on the African economy.”

160426_KMW_SymposiumPresentations011 MiKalla Cotton, Christian ministry and missions

MiKalla presented her research paper titled “Created to Create: Why Do We Create.” She said people create because they are made in the image of a creator, and creativity manifests itself in different ways.

“Men and women reflect the image of the creator through making something of the world they have been given. Not only is creativity a reflection of our creator, but it also allows us to reflect him to the world around us and build up the community of creative minds in our midst.”

Read more about the Scholarship Symposium in our news release.

Story by Nathan Handley, photos by Kristi Woody, Elizabeth Wilson and David Parks.

1604_027 copy1604_053160426_KMW_SymposiumPresentations003160426DP_Posters-1160426DP_Posters-4160426DP_Symposium-2

Union University in Italy: Trip Report

In mid-January 2015, 17 Union University students and faculty sponsors Steve Halla (Art) and Gavin Richardson (English) spent 11 days touring the artistic, literary, and historical sites of Italy. Supplemented by reading assignments and written coursework, the study tour allowed Union students to earn up to seven hours of UU credit in world literature, arts in western civilization, and fitness. Highlights included a visit to the Roman Coliseum, a climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a rainy walk through Pompeii, a tour of the Uffizi art museum in Florence, and the Doge’s Palace in Venice.

Faculty co-sponsor Gavin Richardson said, “The study tour was great and the students were great. We had a few chilly days, but the advantage of going to Italy in January is that there were virtually no crowds. Students could get within a few feet of works by Botticelli and Michelangelo in the Uffizi, and our tours of some of the fifth- and sixth-century mosaics in Ravenna were virtually private.”

Plans are underway to return to Italy in January 2016, with a potential overnight in Naples, as well as a day trip to Assisi and the Roman catacombs. For more information, students should contact Gavin Richardson (grichard@uu.edu) and “like” the UU in Italy Facebook page. Spring informational sessions will be announced soon.  

Photos below submitted by students and professors

unionuniversity-italytrip-1 unionuniversity-italytrip-2 unionuniversity-italytrip-3 unionuniversity-italytrip-4 unionuniversity-italytrip-5 unionuniversity-italytrip-6 unionuniversity-italytrip-7 unionuniversity-italytrip-8 unionuniversity-italytrip-9 unionuniversity-italytrip-10