Published May 15, 2020
In the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, DC3 creative arts programs are utilizing innovative ways to showcase their student talent. One example is the first-ever DC3 online art exhibition, and the second is a student-produced literary magazine, which is in its fourth year.
Regarding the art show, Jennifer Nolan, DC3 associate professor of art, said transitioning to an online exhibition only made sense, as a majority of classes had already moved in that direction because of the campus closure.
“I am a member of several professional art education organizations, and their online discussion groups were addressing the challenges of teaching three dimensional media such as ceramics, sculpture and metalsmithing,” Nolan said. “The next dilemma was how to handle exhibitions. Online catalogs are fairly common, so the use of those to create a virtual online exhibition was a natural transition. Devlin Goldworm and I agreed that this was the best way to continue the exhibition.”
A total of 25 students—from ceramics, metalsmithing/jewelry, painting and drawing classes—were featured in the online exhibition.
“Some students were able to take materials and supplies home before spring break, I was able to put together kits for my ceramics students,” Nolan said. “And some were not able to make arrangements to pick anything up, so there was a huge range of accessibility to materials, tools and equipment. Some students had machine shops to work in, and some had only their bedrooms or back patios. So, students were using whatever materials they had at hand.”
In spite of these difficulties, Nolan said the circumstances ended up inspiring students to be more creative and use unconventional ‘art materials’ in their projects.
“Students were freer to experiment and push the categories of traditional art making,” she said. “You will see that most of the ceramics pieces are in various states of completion. Some are finished with the glass glaze completely fired. Some have the glaze applied, but are not fired, and some pieces are in their raw state.”
Moving forward, Nolan said she expects student art exhibitions to return to the Little Theatre Gallery. However, the online catalog aspect might just become a new tradition to enhance the in-person shows, she said.
“This way we have a permanent record of all artwork shown that semester, which can be shared with a larger audience online,” she said.
With all the challenges facing DC3 art students this semester, Nolan said she fully expected to have a small response to the call for show entries. However, the result was quite the opposite, she said.
“They blew me away with not only the quantity of the work, but the quality of work with a message,” she said. “These students are ready to take any challenge that is thrown at them and not only survive, but come out on the other side with more skills and grit than before. I couldn’t be more proud of them all, and I look forward to having them back in the fall or watching them progress onto their next educational goals.”
The Spring 2020 virtual art show can be found at docs.google.com/presentation/d/e/2PACX-1vSrtLyLSHmdbh0_Xdfg0bfCOdvr79S-OucTQYgbeeweZXS3_gjfd1AkeGB2w_LJEQBqJIS7SBQM4H2q/pub?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000.
Wild Writers, which is DC3’s other online creative showcase this semester, is in its fourth year.
“When I arrived at DC3 more than three years ago, I was dismayed to hear we had no active student publications,” Kathryn O’Neil, DC3 professor of English and Humanities Division Chair, said. “I used to love submitting work to literary magazines in high school and during my undergraduate years, so I decided to create one.”
In addition to no active student publications at the time, O’Neil said the DC3 creative writing class was also not active. So, she also created a writing club, called the Dodge City Literary and Art Consortium (DCLA). The DCLA then published its first edition, which was originally titled Prairie Winds.
“The idea was and is that students would curate, create and contribute to this magazine, with me as sponsor and mentor,” she said.
After the first year, Prairie Winds was renamed Wild Writers, and the rest is history, she said.
“This year we had submissions from 11 writers and seven visual artists,” O’Neil said. “Of them, seven of the writers are students, four are faculty, and all the visual artists are students. One student, Diego Marquina Mendez, illustrated his own writing.”
In terms of writing genres, O’Neil said horror was by far this year’s most popular category for submissions. Although, she said there also was a rise in in the number of superhero action and drama stories as well.
“Every time I launch a new edition of Wild Writers, I’m awed by the talent of our students and faculty,” she said. “The truly amazing part is that our students, though already skilled in their craft, are young and still developing. I expect someday to be able to say, ‘I knew them when …’ ”
Wild Writers is open to all DC3 students, staff and faculty, as well as Dodge City High School students and members of the community. Works can be submitted at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no cost to submit.
The 2020 edition of Wild Writers is available at wildwriters2020.weebly.com.
“I’m thrilled with these online showcases. Kudos to Professors Nolan, Goldworm, and O’Neil for providing their students with the opportunities to share their works with an admiring public,” Dr. Jane Holwerda, DC3 Vice President of Academic Affairs, said.
“College art shows and literary magazines, like most student events and activities, commemorate students’ talent and commitment as well as our faculty’s mentoring and instruction,” Holwerda said. “What I feel, when viewing the DC3 online art show and the Wild Writers’ site, is the joy and passion our students and faculty put into these projects. How wonderful is that?”
By Lance Ziesch