Four years ago I started teaching at Lander and we welcomed a huge group of freshmen. These new recruits were the first bunch to get a taste of the new Lander Visual Art department faculty.
The program was tougher and more rigorous and those foundations classes were especially rough. And the projects...the projects were out there. When they checked in to their freshman dorms they had no idea they'd soon be wallowing in plaster, welding, making public sculptures, getting permanent sculpture commissions, winning awards, getting news stories written about them, getting on the tv news, Skyping with famous designers, getting to know a darling of QVC, changing the campus with their artwork and playing racquetball with their professors.
It was such a great group of students and over the years very few faded away. Those same faces I saw in that first 3D Design class mostly stuck it out for the entire four years. Some of those students enrolled in three, four or five of my courses during that time. Some would come visit from time to time when they didn't have my classes and some would even visit regularly.
There are a number of things that make Lander's Art Department great but one of the more important ones has to be the students.
Spring semester of their freshman year. Plaster pouring day in my 3D Design class. KJ, Abby, Colleen, Tylan, Rion, Ashley.
Fall semester of their second year. My ceramics class on Raku night. Cessquatch, The Tavmanian Devil, Josie, Elizabethe and Abby.
Fall semester of their third year. 1st day of Sculpture class. KJ, Fred, Mean Megan, Whitney, Cessquatch, Kelsey, Other Megan, Abby, Bennell, The Tavmanian Devil, Katertot, Ashley, Sean.
Graduation day, last Saturday. The whole gang of hoodlums.
Mean Megan was fussing at me about something as usual. The Tavmanian Mane in the background.
Katertot, Jim, me, Sean, Singletary
This is the pose I got when I said, "OK, look smart."
And this is when I realized they were leaving me forever. Cessquatch, Tavmanian Devil, Sean, Katertot.
We offered to fail a few of them to keep them around longer. Some of them considered the offer longer than they should have. The Tavmanian Devil, Mean Megan and a couple others begin the MAT program in two weeks and I'll teach them yet again in the fall (Lord help us all). The others hit the bricks this week looking for jobs and preparing to begin their professional lives.
It's been four years of laughter, creativity, learning and silliness. You'd be hard pressed to find a better bunch of hoodlums.
I'm not a big fan of people, but I'm a big fan of these people.