February 16, 2011
Oklahoma Baptist University art, design and communications students traveled to New York City for a January Term class and received credit while observing the many facets of culture and art in the Big Apple. Although the group went together, the three different classes often split up in the city to study things particular to their class.
Dr. Kaylene Barbe, communication arts division chair and professor of communication studies brought the communications students to study varieties of communication forms in an urban context, studying playwrights, artists and advertisers.
Professor Corey Fuller, assistant professor of graphic design, designed the trip so that the students were able to meet professionals in the field, providing inspiration that way. Julie Blackstone, assistant professor of art, established this trip to be a learning experience for the students to examine the art and sculptures to shape them in their drawing inspiration.
“So much life happens in NYC. The main point of our trip to was to experience art and culture primarily in the incredible museums there, but also in the numerous art galleries as well,” said Kacie Sherrard, senior art student in Blackstone’s class.
With the opportunities to see major New York City landmarks such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Empire State Building and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, as well as many others, the students were allowed many opportunities to experience art. Sherrard said,
“We were able to see and experience one of the greatest cultural hubs in the world, the city itself.”
A favorite iconic place of several, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, served as an all-day inspirational trip for some of the students. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s the Mecca of the art world,” Blackstone said. Sherrard said she soaked up a lot of inspiration at the Met.
Fuller’s class was able to meet with several professionals who helped them prepare for the future; including tips on job searches, portfolios and giving them practical advice on how to carry out that particular profession.
The students were able to experience the city as a cultural phenomenon, whether it was through the multi-culturalism trends including food, music, Broadway shows or just walking through Central Park or Times Square.
Several opportunities allowed them to experience a spiritual connection through the sights.
The visit to the Emanu-El synagogue, for example, “was certainly one of the best and beautiful examples they may ever see,” Blackstone said. “It was a deeply spiritual experience, and I thanked God for giving us the opportunity.”
The St. Patrick’s Cathedral “was so moving on many levels: the sheer awe-inspiring architecture, the beautiful stained glass, the exquisite sculpture, the stonework, the paintings…all appealed to our artistic natures.” There, they encountered what was a shocking experience; the ever powerful presence of an overwhelming number of homeless people.
“That certainly makes a person wish there was something more we could do for the homeless,” Blackstone said.
Going to New York City not only allowed the students and professors to fill up their inspiration tank, but they were able to experience a truly diverse world.
“Our school likes to talk about diversity, but there’s also the constant problem of students living within the ‘OBU bubble.’
This trip was a sometimes mind-blowing entree into the real world,” Blackstone said.
“Visitors to NYC get at least a glimpse of a multitude of cultures and ideas...not just in the fields of art, but in society as a whole.”
“Sometimes being an art student in the Midwest is discouraging because art isn’t on any level of importance to so many people here,” Sherrard said.
“It gave me hope that I can pursue a career in something that I not only feel passionate about, but that other people in the world also can appreciate and respect.”
Sherrard also added, “It was just refreshing to see life from a different point of view.”
Blackstone said the trip was well worth it and she hopes to go again.
“It was hard to leave New York; I think most of us needed another week or so to take it all in,” Blackstone said. “I believe most students would tell you that it did leave its impression on their hearts, minds and souls.”