World view: Arts & culture broaden student experiences at Hawkeye Community College

posted on Monday, April 1, 2019 in  College News

At Hawkeye Community College, students have an opportunity broaden their world view through exhibitions, lectures, performances and workshops as part of the arts and culture experience on campus.

“We have many students attending Hawkeye who are coming from smaller rural communities where they don’t have as much exposure to arts and culture. We want to create and offer those opportunities to students,” says Lindsay Buehler, Hawkeye’s arts and culture coordinator.

“When they do view an art exhibition or attend a musical performance or participate in an activity or workshop, our surveys show that students find it rewarding. They want to be more involved and are more likely to see the value of arts and culture, especially non-art majors.”

Response is “overwhelmingly positive,” Buehler says. Research has shown that participation in arts and culture programming can improve learning, foster creativity, increase feelings of dignity and being a team player, as well as produce a better-rounded student and citizen of the world.

This spring, Hawkeye students have a new venue for art exhibits alongside the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hall on the third floor at the new Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center. “It’s a beautiful space with windows and great exposures with space for hosting events. The new space will provide lots of opportunities for us,” Buehler says.

A portion of the “Dictators and Dreamers” exhibit by Jennifer Lynn Bates was displayed in the gallery space this spring. The joint exhibition with the Waterloo Center for the Arts investigates infamy, the effects of absolute power and the human rights and dreams of the common person.

The display is part of a semester-long series of arts and culture events focused on human migration. Bates has produced a series of paintings and videos of her personal interviews with those people who have been impacted. Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander also presented her touring production, “VANG: A Drama About Recent Immigrant Farmers.” There have been lectures and panel discussions related to the human migration theme, as well.

“Students are able to hear artists talk about creative process which gives them a real-life look at what an artist does and what’s what’s meaningful to them,” says Buehler. “It shows that art can be another means of self-expression.”

The collaboration with Waterloo Center for the Arts is one more shared project in a long-term relationship. “The Jennifer Bates exhibit fits with our overall mission to provide a dialogue through the arts. The public gains as well,” says Chawne Paige, WCA curator.

Buehler expects the relationship to grow now that the new gallery space is open at the Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center, just a few blocks away from the WCA. “There’s such close proximity that it will open the door to the full richness of collaboration,” she says.

Co-curricular programming is an important aspect of Hawkeye’s arts and culture program, Buehler points out, and allows students access to educational opportunities outside the classroom, including a field trip to Figge Art Museum in Davenport.

On campus, art is exhibited at locations such as Hawkeye Library and in Grundy Hall, for example. Other departments benefit by working together to balance programs and opportunities for impact. More students are participating in the annual Student Art Show, as well, Buehler notes.

The juried show featured about 120 entries last year. Works by students in graphic communications, professional photography, digital mass media, welding and other courses are featured. An opening reception and awards presentation takes place in April and the show is displayed in the Hawkeye Library through early May.

Another campus-wide program, Hawkeye Reads supports the college’s Institutional Outcomes and is dedicated to increasing literacy. It promotes dialogue among students, faculty and staff and builds community.

In addition, the college is home to the Arts & Literature, Etc., Club, which is “dedicated to raising awareness of diverse and social issues currently affecting our society,” which results in a compilation of works published in ETC Magazine. Students are encouraged to participate in organizing, promoting and display artistic works by fellow students. Graphic design, photo editing, promotion and marketing, maintaining a deadline, fundraising, leadership and communication are among skills students learn and hone.

The public also can attend exhibitions, lectures, film series and the popular artist series featuring performers from around the country.

By Melody Parker, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

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