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Teaching Art During COVID-19

April 6, 2021

This year the Department of Art has had to adapt our instructional methods to the world of a pandemic. What you might not realize is that the area technicians and other staff worked tirelessly last summer and throughout the year to ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty if they were meeting in person for classes. Over half of the classes in the UMN Department of Art offered at least some in person instruction this year.

Just look at the ways the Department of Art has been able to keep being curious and making art. 

Spaced-out workstations and reduced room capacities: Who moved those ceramics wheels all over Regis East anyway?

Student at ceramics wheel watching video demo on their phone
Photo: Chotsani Elaine Dean
Using Influx (our large lecture hall) for in-person classes: For Kevin Obsatz and the Intro to Moving Image students, distance is no barrier to great learning. As usual, no one wants to sit in the front row.

 instructor teaching a large classroom of students sitting at individual tables.
Photo: Karen Haselmann
Video demos: Brandon Chambers and Tetsuya Yamada have their ceramics demo system all worked out.

ceramics technique demo showing the student filming it from afar
Photo: Karen Haselmann
Screens in classrooms: How do you get one instructor in two (or more) classrooms at the same time? Video monitors! Here students in Intermediate Printmaking follow along as they learn stone lithography from Jenny Schmid.

students work in the printmaking studio watching a monitor showing techniques
Photo: Jenny Schmid
Selfie sticks and phone cameras: Chotsani Elaine Dean from Ceramics is strong with the selfie-stick mojo, here using it to document Erin Brockmeier who is in turn documenting a ceramics piece.

student taking a phone photo of ceramics inside a light booth
Photo: Chotsani Elaine Dean
Personal Protective Equipment: Is that Jenny Schmid from Printmaking under all of that?

selfie of a person wearing surgical mask, glasses and face shield
Photo: Jenny Schmid
Hand-washing: Here Wil Christensen demonstrates how we Gophers keep sanitized.

Hand washing with UMN logo on soap dispenser
Photo: Karen Haselmann
Social Distancing: And they made their own green-screen set up! Where are they (virtually) running to, do you suppose? And with whom?

students filming another student pretending to run against a green screen
Photo: Karen Haselmann
Blended learning: Mathew Zefeldt’s painting students met two days a week via Zoom and two days a week in the painting studios where they could take advantage of the (well-ventilated) studio environment and get direct feedback on their work. Notice how Austin Peterson stays within the yellow lines on the floor marking out everyone's personal space.

Students painting on spaced out easels in painting studio
Photo: Mathew Zefeldt
Zoom meetings: Look who was at the Super Staff meeting last week! Some of us were working from home, some working in the Regis Center for Art, yet we (and many of our pets) all came together thanks to video conferencing software.

Zoom meeting screenshot of 11 people waving to the camera
Making Virtual Art: ...both at home and in person. Here Sumayo Salah sculpts a virtual masterpiece in VR.

Student in VR headset drawing with projected image on the wall
Photo: Karen Haselmann
Continuing with what we always do: Chris Larson’s and Kristina Estell’s Intro to Sculpture classes were able to pour some hot aluminum in the foundry this year.

students pouring metal into sculpture molds in the foundry
Photo: Chris Larson
Virtual Exhibitions: Because there is always art to be shared, Izzy Shinn and the other Advanced Printmaking students installed pieces in the Regis West Gallery space, but the exhibition was also virtual. 

Student pins multiple tree prints to the gallery wall
Photo: Karen Haselmann
Of course, we wore our masks: Intro to Ceramics students Mikaela Morris and Analia Kroonblawd wear them like they’ve never not worn them.

two ceramics students waving and smiling wearing masks
Photo: Chotsani Elaine Dean
And throughout it all, in person or not, students made art! Wren Friedrich not only made all of those colorful prints, but attached them all, one at a time, to the Regis West wall!

smiling masked student standing in front of their print installation
Photo: Karen Haselmann

Thanks to the Art Staff and everyone else in the Department of Art who made this year so successful!

 Staff working in studio with thumbs-up from the photographer in the foreground
Chotsani Elaine Dean in Ceramics gives hard-working Kim Roth an appreciative thumbs-up from afar.
Interested in taking a Summer Art course? Guest students are welcome!