Washington County Community College is exemplifying the value in collaboration by displaying a six-piece collage created by the students of last semester’s introductory art class. The collage, now hanging in the college’s library, shows what can come from the inclination to combine different perspectives.
“It’s very powerful for the group,” said instructor KarryAnn Nadeau. “You can do it at the easiest skill level, but when it all comes together, it’s a grand piece.”
Nadeau said that she guides each of her classes through the process of working on six seemingly separate, disconnected images early in the semester as a way to establish comfort in replicating an image while adding personal style. Students can tackle the task without having any significant artistic background – or they can come from a rich background of it. “The process is easier or more difficult for different people,” Nadeau said. “But it is still working toward one simple goal of a concrete subject.”
Students weren’t aware they were creating a collaborative image until they saw it combined during the end of semester art show. For student Marshall Campbell, who describes himself as having grown up drawing, the overall process was quite enjoyable. “To be able to draw with five other artists whom have different styles I find fascinating,” Campbell said.
“In art classes, you often are taught to look and work on art as an overall piece,” said student and elementary school art teacher Jane Andrews. “But when I do my art pieces myself, I will put the basic image in and then concentrate on certain areas until I am happy with them. So, I enjoyed this project and to see how it would fit together. It’s a great idea to do with an art class.”
WCCC Librarian and art student Elizabeth Phillips selected to hang the piece because of its unique, collaborative style. “Even some of the other students in the class were attracted to it and at first wondered who had done it. When we recognized that the art work comprised the individual pieces made by us for a class assignment, it made the drawing all the more special!”
For each of the participating students, having their artwork hung in a public place inspires them to pursue their craft further. “Having my artwork hanging in a public place actually encourages me to draw more, and to branch out into different types of art,” Campbell explained.
Instructor Nadeau believes that even individuals interacting at the highest level of executive leadership would benefit from engaging in a collaborative art project before negotiations. “It’s a simple thing to do that shows a broad range of perspectives, and I feel there’s a call in the world for that now.”