Student diversity embraced in art

Lauren Rogus, Staff writer

Posters about the “Mosaic of Life” have begun to pop up around campus, advertising a campus-wide art show created by a team made up of Tyler Brentley, Multicultural and Inclusion Coordinator; Heather Denning, L.S.W., instructor of Art Therapy; Jessica Macrino, counselor; Judy Smith, Ph.D., executive director of wellness; and Bushra Upal, counselor.

The show is intended to showcase students’ creative works surrounding the theme of diversity and inclusion. Students may submit any form of visual art, poetry, dance, spoken word or music. Students with varying levels of artistic skills are welcome, including novice artists. The art may represent ethnicity, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, inclusion, acceptance and any other similar theme.

Works will be displayed in the Student Union Great Room on April 12, with a reception from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Entry forms may be obtained from Cohen Health Center and will be posted on campus this week. Entries will be accepted at the counseling center March 12-26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be open art studio time on Feb. 27, 2-5 p.m. and March 1, 4-7 p.m., in Zurn 121, where students will be able to work on pieces for the show.

“Mosaic of Life” has been in the works for a while. It began with the staff at Cohen Health Center discussing the need for additional color and art, making it more welcoming to students. The staff also wanted to show students that they are diverse individuals.

As the staff explored these ideas, the idea of having an art show was born.

The show became a way to express diversity in a variety of ways, making Cohen Health Center more friendly. Students submitting work may choose to let their art be displayed in the Health Center, after the initial display in the Student Union, for a semester, for a year or forever.

Denning is excited to give all students, not just those in Art Therapy, a voice on campus. The name, “Mosaic of Life,” came to be because of the intersection between art and counseling.

“When I think of a mosaic, I think of something forming together to form one thing,” said Denning. “I think that this campus is like that. There is a lot of diversity on campus coming together for an art event, so just using the idea of a mosaic is kind of a metaphor. It is an art term but I think it definitely relates to all the students here on campus.”

Students are excited about the opportunity to participate in the show. Kim Bennett, freshman Art Therapy major, is particularly passionate about the artwork she plans to submit.

“I love it and I can’t wait to enter it. The art I am making for it is a release for me, and I am going to make a piece with a personal theme,” Bennett said.