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Art Students Use Creative Exercises to Explore Personal Themes

Students in Studio Art 2: Art and Social Change have begun a project to prepare for the Global Initiatives category of the Jesuit 4x5 exhibition. Under the guidance of Mrs. Colleen Aufderheide, art teacher and fine arts department chair,  these young artists have been working through creative exercises for the past several weeks to explore new perspectives, materials, and ideas for their work. Each student has selected a theme that is personally important to him or her. 
“One of their first prompts as a creative exercise was to use a window as a prop to express ideas, feelings, actions or questions about their theme,” explains Mrs. Aufderheide.  “They needed to consider artistic conventions such as lighting, cropping, point of view, inclusion of the human form and reflection to help them consider how a window can symbolize or represent their issue.” 

Sophomore Molly Isaacson’s piece is a black and white photograph of a closed window taken from a steep, downward looking angle. Her theme? The initiative of the youth. 

My photo expresses my theme because the people that are taking action are looked down upon and that is why the photo is taken from a higher angle,” Molly says, articulating her artistic choices. “The window is closed because the older people that have the power are closed off to the possibility of change. The photo is in black and white because people like to believe that this issue is black and white when in reality it is not.” 

Students are still in the process of submitting their work and exploring their theme through the creative exercises outlined by Mrs. Aufderheide. Junior Ariana Callaghan has chosen to explore immigration. Her piece positions the viewer on the outside of a window and features bright hues of yellow, green and blue inside. “Society is often on the outside of the situation making judgments, but inside are colorful stories of people,” she notes. 

Nora Sipchen '21 decided to tackle the loneliness of isolation due to COVID-19. Her work highlights darker, muted tones, confining window panes and an intense focus on the outside.  

Senior Avery Darrow’s photograph of a curtain opening upon a well lit window sheds lights on an issue that hits home across that nation: “It represents opening up the conversation about homelessness,” Avery says. 

And junior Liza Miller's photograph is taken inside looking out and plays with angles and lines to accentuate a feeling of entrapment. "The theme is feeling trapped somewhere you feel comfortable, but it's less of a sanctuary and more of a cage," Liza says. 

Studio Art 2: Art and Social Change is part of Loyola's unique lineup of Ignatian Service Learning classes. These courses take the service experience into the classroom—enabling students to learn about social justice issues in academic classes across the curriculum, apply their new knowledge to real-life situations through community service and then engage in reflective exercises, discussions and projects to process the experience. To learn more about the Ignatian Service Learning Program, click here.
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