RLC students make art for Earth's sake | Arts & Culture
INA, IL (KFVS) - Rend Lake College art students, including Jean Bravard, in Billie Brannan’s art class at RLC recently toured the “Sustain” exhibition at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where recycled art from across the Midwest was displayed in ecological ways.
In addition to the field trip, the students received an in-class visit from guest speaker Katy Mike Smaistrla of Earth Ways Institute. These opportunities were made possible through a grant from the Illinois Green Economy Network, which is aimed at delivering sustainability education on campus and out in the community.
The college’s Greening the Campus Committee is holding a sustainable art contest next week. It’s one event on a long list of activities to celebrate Earth Week on campus, April 16-20. The theme this year is Local Foods.
“Hosting the Sustainable Art Contest exposes students to the idea of sustainability and allows them to incorporate it into their field of study,” said Political Science Associate Professor Greg Hollmann, who is heading up the IGEN sustainability grant at Rend Lake. “If a student plans to enter the competition, they must first decide what sustainability means to them. Our hope is that this will lead to better practices, not only in their art work but in their way of life.”
The visit to SIUC and guest presenter were organized to inspire RLC students designing their own sustainable art projects. Brannan said class interest in sustainable art was roused by both activities.
“We had a really good day. They enjoyed it very much and I think it gave them ideas on things they can do,” said Brannan. “It raised a lot of questions about what is sustainability. I think students at Rend Lake College are just now learning what sustainability really is.”
Brannan said a couple of questions that came up revolved around store-bought paint versus repurposed products and using pit firing for clay rather than an electric kiln. She said the tour and Smaistrla opened their eyes to the reasons for and ways of creating sustainable art.
Bravard, who creates art under the tag “Jeannie B,” said her sustainable art project for the RLC competition will repurpose items she snatched up before they could make it to the landfill.
“Jean is one of these people who really wants to do something without buying anything new,” Brannan added. “She doesn’t even want to use glue in her sustainable project.”
“Sustainability to me is to repurpose, to re-use objects that I would throw away and that other people would throw away,” Bravard said. “I’m a fanatic about keeping stuff that I know I’m going to re-use.”
Work submitted for the competition at Rend Lake will be displayed and judged during Earth Week celebrations, scheduled for April 16-20. Submissions are scheduled to be on display from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 and Wednesday, April 18, with the winner being announced at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 19 in the college’s theatre.
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