Art instructor uses creativity for class projects


Cutline:  NOC Sculpture students were given clay, models, tutorials and calipers in the “sculpture-to-go” kits distributed last week. (photo provided)

Northern Oklahoma College Fine Arts Instructor and Eleanor Hays Art Gallery Curator Audrey Schmitz has had to redefine instruction since NOC classes have transitioned to virtual learning for the spring semester.

“Teaching studio courses are a great challenge right now,” Schmitz said.

In order to meet the challenge, Schmitz has used her creativity to assist her students.

“One thing I have done for my Sculpture students is to prepare "carry-out" kits of materials, tools and tutorials,” she said. “This accompanies video resources and other visual aids sent through Blackboard (on-line teaching application).”

“We are currently working on creating the human form in stoneware clay using traditional wooden and metal tools and hand manipulation,” she said. “Modelling soft material such as clay or wax has a long tradition in the history of sculpture making. Using calipers, the students will measure their own faces to guide them in their study of anatomy and proportion. As the work progresses, students will post photographs on Blackboard to get advice and feedback. The final works will be made permanent through high-temperature firing and then finished with a patina.”

Schmitz scheduled a supply pick-up outside the Creative Arts Building over two days last week.

“They were all eager to get supplies,” she said.

“It was good to see them and talk in person,” she said while saying they did practice social distancing.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Pam Stinson added, “The swift move to an online environment has been a challenge for classes everywhere, but there are certainly some subjects that present more challenges in shifting online because of their hands-on nature. NOC is very fortunate to have instructors who are managing this shift with creativity and flexibility in working with students.”

Schmitz added she is developing a Virtual Gallery for the annual spring NOC Student Art Exhibit titled, “Don’t think, Do FEEL.”

Students in the Sculpture class include Telia Archer, Dawn Rutherford, Kara Williams, Luis Mireles, Marilynn Patton and Peyton Weant, and Kimberly Battles.