Students Invited to Art, Design Study in Big Apple

OBU students studying art and design will have a unique opportunity to fuel their creativity and ignite their inspiration through January Term classes in New York City Jan. 9-16, 2011.

All students, as well as alumni and the community, are invited to enroll in the courses, which are uniquely designed for the 2011 J-Term.

“Even though the nation’s capital is Washington, D.C., the business, and cultural capital of the United States would have to be New York City,” Fuller said. “Just visiting the city is an education within itself. It’s a city that every artist should see. With visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, students will see in-person the work that before-hand they’ve only viewed in textbooks. It’s a living lab.

“Advanced Topics Course in Drawing: Sculpture in NYC” (ART 4329 - 3 credit hours) will be taught by Julie Blackstone, OBU assistant professor of art. This three-week course consists of one week on the OBU campus brushing up on drawing skills; the second week spent in NYC drinking in the inspiration and sketching regularly; and the third week back on Bison Hill to complete the drawings, mat them and hang a show.

“Beyond seeing these iconic images of visual culture, I think the real advantage of this study tour will be to experience the energy of the city and its people,” Fuller said. “By Julie having her students draw the city, they become keenly aware of the visual complexity and richness of the urban tapestry. Through drawing, one is able to connect deeply with the subject-matter. In this case, by drawing, students make the city their own.”

“Study tour in Graphic Design: Meeting Design Professionals” (ART 1999 - 3 credit hours) will be taught by Corey Fuller, assistant professor of graphic design. The course’s trip agenda will include tours to museums, design studios and galleries. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to meet personally with practicing artists and designers. The visits are intended to give students a sense of the professional, creative field. Time at OBU will be spent examining the components of a design portfolio.

“Through an organization called International Arts Movement (IAM), the OBU Art Department has been able to form contacts with working artists and designers in New York City,” Fuller said. “Christy Tennant, host of IAM Conversations, has been a helpful resource in setting up appointments, such as with the creative director of Elizabeth Ardon, which will be of particular interest to graphic design majors.”

An accomplished artist, Blackstone has taught full-time at OBU since August 1997. Her career has included international study and experience at art studios and colleges and schools across Oklahoma. Before becoming an educator, she worked as an intern with an advertising agency in England, and was an artist and designer with Glasshaus Studio.

Blackstone earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Central State University, now the University of Central Oklahoma. Earlier this year, she won the “Best of Show” award in the FIBERWORKS 2010 show for her piece, “Knotty Girl II: Mme. Gautreau meets Messrs. Seurat and Klimt.” She has had her work accepted at numerous juried shows, and is a two-time winner of the Handweavers’ Guild of America Award for Excellence. She annually contributes art to fundraising efforts for non-profit organizations in the area, including Habitat for Humanity and the Unity Hospital Foundation.

Fuller’s design philosophy is based on the old axiom of architect Louis Sullivan: “form follows function.” Design is not just decorative ornament but the way that something works. Graphic design, in particular, utilizes text, images or a combination of both to communicate a specific message to a particular audience. The test of success lies in the effectiveness of communication. In this regard, he said, good design is not simply an opinion based on aesthetics, but it is quantifiable in terms of meeting the objectives of a client.

Fuller earned his bachelor’s degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and his master’s degree at the University of Central Oklahoma. He believes that a designer is part artist and part scientist; an artist in the sense of creating works that visually stimulate and resonate emotionally with people, and a scientist in the sense that they create something that works functionally to enhance cognition and influence a course of action. In essence, he said, a graphic designer is a visual, creative problem-solver.

For information about enrolling in the Sculpture in NYC course, contact Blackstone at For information about enrolling in the Meeting Design Professionals course, contact Fuller at