Barry McNamara  |  Published March 17, 2022

Hands-on Learning at BCA

Art education students part of ongoing partnership between Monmouth College, Buchanan Center for the Arts.

PREPARING THE EXHIBITION: Monmouth College students helping out at the Buchanan Center for the Ar... PREPARING THE EXHIBITION: Monmouth College students helping out at the Buchanan Center for the Arts included, from left, Z Kendall, Elizabeth Cichowicz and Molly Vestal.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Art education is one of the newest majors at Monmouth College, and students learning the subject had an recent opportunity for hands-on experience at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in downtown Monmouth.

In late February, Monmouth art professor Stephanie Baugh and seven of her students in the 300-level “Foundations of Art Education” course went to the Buchanan Center for their regular class session. After discussing class content for a bit, the students got to work on their main objective for the day: helping staff at the Buchanan Center install its current exhibition, the Town & Country Art Show, which features the artwork of 6th-12th grade students in Henderson, Mercer and Warren counties.

“Students moved and painted pedestals, alphabetized labels for the artworks, and began arranging how the artworks would hang on the walls,” said Baugh, who said that hand-in-hand with the new major is an Illinois State Board of Education-approved PK-12 visual arts teacher licensure program. Currently, four Monmouth students are committed to the program as majors.

Three of those majors were involved with installing the new exhibition – Elizabeth Cichowicz ’25 of Chicago Ridge, Illinois; Mallory Mazzocco ’23 of Aledo, Illinois; and Molly Vestal ’25 of Andover, Illinois.

“Each year the Buchanan Center for the Arts is delighted to partner with Monmouth College students on a number of artistic projects,” said the center’s executive director, Kristyne Gilbert, a 1990 Monmouth graduate. “The annual Town & Country Art Show is one of the larger shows at the BCA to install and prepare for the public, and the time that the college students invest to install the show is greatly appreciated.”

“The art education program is an opportunity for the BCA staff to work with the students on the process of teaching art and working with a gallery to prepare a show for their future students.” Kristyne Gilbert

Gilbert is pleased that the partnership is especially helpful to students in the College’s new major.

“The art education program is an opportunity for the BCA staff to work with the students on the process of teaching art and working with a gallery to prepare a show for their future students,” she said.

FLOOR-AL ARRANGEMENT: Before the Town & Country exhibition was mounted in place, Monmouth art... FLOOR-AL ARRANGEMENT: Before the Town & Country exhibition was mounted in place, Monmouth art education students got a feel for what works looked best with others.After the show was installed, Baugh returned to the Buchanan Center, along with one of her students, Z Kendall ’24 of Rock Hall, Maryland. Together, they were the featured speakers for the center’s monthly Old Friends Talk Art program.

“Because the Town and Country show was disrupted by the pandemic for two years, a portion of the talk was about teaching and making art in the time of COVID,” said Baugh.

A high school senior when the country went into lockdown, Kendall discussed what it felt like to be separated from art-student peers and teachers. Also discussed, on a personal level, was what art making meant for Kendall during those times of isolation and how those art-making practices were then carried forward and supported at Monmouth.

“Also included in our talk was a discussion of eight concepts that are referred to as ‘studio habits of mind’ and some of the cognitive and intellectual skills that students develop in art classes,” said Baugh, who served as the juror for the exhibition and announced her awards on March 5. “I ended the talk by discussing strategies and criteria for judging and responding to art made by young people.”

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