Senior Brent Johnston helped professors Enrique Colon, assistant professor of art and design; Greg Clayton, associate professor of art and design, and Amy Cox, associate professor and chair of art and design; in brainstorming how to push the art department in new ways.
“They were seeing all these other colleges with a successful multimedia space, and we saw that we had the space to do it here,” Johnston said.
The plans for creating a multimedia room, or “maker space,” began to take place last year. “We have a 3D printer and a laser cutter, and we already had a milling machine in the wood shop,” Johnston said.
While the art department has had some tools available to students in previous years, the 3D printer and the laser cutter allow students to produce a digital design that can become tangible.
These new devices aided students and faculty in a project in which they created light fixtures, serving as a dry-run for the multimedia space, and showing off the work they can now produce.
Johnston hopes to see more departments on campus moving forward with what is available for students.
“This is one way students can explore new things they would not be able to come in contact with otherwise,” Johnston said. “The outside exploration allows you to add these experiences to the list of skills you have.”
Artists on campus are able to continue to express themselves through their craft in a way that has not always been available to them.
“By embracing these technologies, students are able to participate and shape the visual landscape of modern culture,” assistant professor of art and design Tessa Davidson said.
In the landscape of the shifting workforce, gaining these experiences allows students to be better equipped for cutting-edge jobs in their field junior Kendra Neill said.
“Having access to technology can really help us be competitive when entering our field,” Neill said. “I am excited about the new technology because, not only does it help me create better work, but in the future I will have the experience to help me get a job.”
Neill said students can feel confident that getting the experience with 3D printers and laser cutters in college will better prepare them for the tasks expected of them in their future careers.
“One of my professors once told me,‘It’s better to say you don’t want to do something than to say you can’t do something,’” Neill said.
Giving students like Neill the opportunity to gain confidence in these areas will not only help them hone new expertise, but also help them express traditional arts in modern ways.
“These changes have strengthened all of my skills and have helped me become more well-rounded in the things I am familiar with,” Johnston said.