FEBRUARY 10, 2015 | BY DENNIS IRWIN, UM COMMUNICATIONS
The University of Mississippi Department of Art and Art History is utilizing videoconference technology to bring artists from all over the country to Meek Hall.
The Virtual Visiting Artist Program, or VVAP, uses Skype to host four artist lectures throughout the spring semester. The lectures provide students’ access to artists that currently live, work and practice in the field, but cannot visit campus in person.
The lecture series introduces students to the importance of how art can inform their lives and the lives of others, said Brooke White, associate professor of art and VVAP creator. The program enhances the learning experience by exposing students to a wide range of artists who work in various disciplines throughout the country.
“My main goal when I created this program was simply to bring great art, art historians, critics, curators and artists to campus for our students,” White said. “I want students to be excited and passionate about what they are doing, and sometimes it helps to hear and see real live people talk about their practice.”
The VVAP program has been a great addition to the Department of Art and Art History, said Virginia Chavis, department chair.
“While the artists aren’t physically on campus, the students are able to ask questions and, oftentimes, take a virtual tour of the artists’ studio space,” Chavis said. “It presents valuable face time between the artist and student they may not be able to experience in a gallery setting.”
VVAP came to life during 2014 fall semester to foster deeper discussions about art, art history and curatorial practices, and to give students as much access to the art world as possible. White wanted an intimate setting for students to engage with visiting artists.
Since the introduction of the VVAP last fall, the number of artist visits increased from three to four, and two additional faculty members became involved. Josh Brinlee, assistant professor of art, and Kris Belden-Adams, assistant professor of art, joined the VVAP committee and helped bring in artists.
“Initially, I scheduled three speakers throughout the course of the semester, and for the spring we expanded to four artists,” White said. “Based on the interest last fall, we wanted to expand the roster by one more speaker.”
This semester’s lineup of artists is especially impressive, White said. Students will have opportunities to speak with the director of the Master of Fine Art in Book Arts and Printmaking at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, and a nationally known multimedia artist with an exhibit at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas. Also on the schedule are one of the nation’s top 10 photographers and an art professor at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Art.
All lectures are set for 5 p.m. in room 120 of Meek Hall.
Feb. 11 – Cynthia Thompson, director of the MFA in Book Arts + Printmaking program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Feb. 25 – Matt Moore, multimedia artist and farmer based in Phoenix. Recent Tedx presenter and exhibit at the Crystal Bridges museum in “State of the Art, Discovering American Art Now.”
March 18 – Greg Friedler, a photographer known for his portrait projects called “Naked New York,” “Naked Los Angeles” and “Naked London.” He was listed as one of the World’s Top Photographers in 2000 and two documentaries have been made about him, “Naked London” and “Stripped: Greg Friedler’s Naked Los Angeles.”
April 8 – Buzz Spector, professor of art, Sam Fox School of Art, Washington University. An internationally recognized artist and critical writer, Spector works in a wide range of mediums including sculpture, photography, printmaking, book arts and installation. His work makes frequent use of the book, both as subject and as object, and is concerned with the relationships among public history, individual memory and perception.