Teamwork creates friendships, art at university

Feb 19, 2018

A group of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professors are creating art through collaboration with a new exhibition at the university’s campus gallery.

The gallery welcomed visitors with the nose of drums playing in the background during the reception of Take Two: Collaborative Faculty Exhibition, held on February 15. The art show featured eight different works that pairs or groups of faculty members worked on together in a wide array of mediums, from music to typography.

Music professor Royal Hartigan, artist Kwabena Boateng, and design professor Ziddi Msangi collaborated on an Africa-inspired piece which included a video presentation of musical expressions from Ghana and West Africa.

Next, the Center for Undisciplined Research explained their idea behind their monthly newsletter. According to the center, they wanted to give students the opportunity to practice writing.

Laura Franz from the graphic design department and Stacy Latt Savage created a laser-cut sculpture, called Dangerous, out of paper paper - some including hateful words taken from Facebook, and positive messages on white and grey papers.

Janet Fairbairn, Ben Butler and Susan Dye created a book. The overall piece was titled Passion: A Parallel Collaboration Between Artist & Poet. As described by Dye, they wrote eight poems and Butler drew eight drawings, each with their own separate theme, one light and the other a bit more dark. Fairbairn came in on the project as the art director and designer.

Illustrator James Edwards and animation and game artist Michael Swartz designed Stargazer, a digital video of a character the two professors hope to turn into a larger project.

Janet Fairbairn, Juli Parker, and Cynthia E. Cummings created a poster campaign. The campaign, called I Gotchu, focused on inclusivity on campus and having each others backs.

Elena Peteva and Anthony Fisher, both artists, focused their work on “line embodies energies and frequencies that they painstakingly tune to evoke internal states.”

Peteva’s piece centered on human transience, while Fishers' was the use of the whole body to make art.

Peteva suggest looking closely at the work and then stepping back and looking at it with fresh eyes or meditating in front of it.

Lastly, Harvey Goldman, professor emeritus of digital media, and Jing Wang from the department of music collaborated on a visual media piece called Sky Pacers. The video incorporated music and video, and featured a theme of “mysteriousness of Earth and life,” according to Wang.

Gallery Director Viera Levitt described the work done as a cross-pollination of departments, something she needs to be more of.

“We have to talk about it but possibly,” Levitt said. “It would be an interesting thing to do every year and to open to collaboration, like if we had a math professor who wanted to work with someone from visual art or a biology professor, whomever. It would be interesting to see what comes out of such collaboration.”

Levitt was very happy to see the reactions from audience members and other faculty members as each piece was explained.

“It’s quite impressive to see how passionate people were about collaboration and what it brings and how interesting it is,” Levitt said.

The exhibition will be open until March 9.