Different Viewpoints Encourage Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills in the Arts Department

Students and faculty alike find strength in the diverse challenges of creating art in multiple mediums. “Art, as a discipline, is inherently interdisciplinary and diverse” explains Professor Stephanie Baugh. S. Baugh describes herself as an interdisciplinary artist who works in painting, collage, book making, and sculpture, and does graphic design work. “I am fascinated with typography and with why letters are shaped the way that they are,” said S. Baugh. “I value peacefulness and calmness, and I try to communicate those feelings in my artwork; and I am also a specialist in Art Education.” A major in Art Education is new to the department. “I…love teaching Art Education because that discipline requires a strong foundational understanding of art…,” said S. Baugh “…art can be about anything; so there is no topic–real or imaginary–that is not a suitable thing to discuss in an art class”. Beyond classed, the faculty are diverse too. “We have four wonderful professors who are all unique and specialized and play really well together as a whole to offer a wide learning experience,” said Jennie Nichols, a junior Art Major. “We each have very different teaching styles and different ideas about art so that you get a well-rounded education when you major or minor in art,” said Professor Brian Baugh, a painter who has taught at Monmouth College since 2006. Nichols lists the people in the art department as part of the draw. “We get some wildly fun and creative students. There’s such a great energy everyone brings together here that many other schools are missing.” “My heart belongs to ceramics, but don’t tell the other mediums I work with,” said Nichols. “While it’s not the area I want to go into for graduate school I’ve been doing it for over ten years and never get tired of it. It’s hard, and a lot more physical than you’d expect, and its tendency to never do what you want it to keeps you humble… you never know what you’re going to get.” Nichols created the works featured with this article through the Observational Painting class. “It’s my first time working with true oil paints…I’m challenging myself this semester to work with surfaces and objects that are considered difficult to render in paint—holographic cellophane, water, glass, faces and people, etc.” Professor Stephanie Baugh stresses the individuality of programs for an Art Major. “Half of the credits for an Art Major are media-area choices and other Art electives, so that students can select which media areas they are most interested in and tailor their program to their own goals.” Both S. Baugh and Nichols want to encourage students outside the department to try an Art class. “You don’t have to be good at art to take art classes… I feel like many students are intimidated to step into things they don’t know and forget that’s why we’re all here; to learn new things and grow into adulthood,” said Nichols. “Art builds skills of creative problem-solving, develops your work ethic, and improves your collaborative and communication skills,” said S. Baugh. “You will be pushed to learn and to do new things, but you will also be invited to bring yourself and your own interests to the class. Art is life-enhancing.”

Melanie Delbridge – Staff Writer

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