Ask Francesca Pehr to explain the unique power of expression visual art offers, and you’ll get a thoughtful and mature answer.
“Artwork can use words to express an idea, but unlike writing, you also have the benefit of line, color, shape, light, value, perspective, unity and other elements and principles that let you communicate ideas and feelings that words cannot always grasp,” she says.
As a freshman enrolled in the Art and Design Learning Community at Frostburg State University, Pehr is using artwork to address sexual abuse for the class’ upcoming exhibition, “We’ve Got Issues,” on view Nov. 9 through Nov. 11 at FSU’s Lane University Center Loft. Organized by the class and featuring works they created this semester, “We’ve Got Issues” highlights the talents of FSU’s art students and reflects what they have learned from their course together. The exhibition opens with a free, public reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Lane University Center Loft.
The University’s Learning Communities program groups like-minded students together to brave introductory courses in their shared areas of academic interest. Instructor Trish Limbaugh coordinates the Art and Design Learning Community with Randall Rhodes, chair of the visual arts department. During the course, she takes students on fieldtrips to American art landmarks like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania and notable museums in Washington, D.C. To prepare for the “We’ve Got Issues” show, students must do extensive research on their specific topics and how they’ve been depicted in art, write artist statements and design a postcard and poster.
“By giving students the ‘real-life’ experience of planning an exhibit and creating the artwork, they can experience firsthand the life of a working artist and then decide for themselves based on their own reactions, and not on the opinions of others, whether they want to make the commitment to art and to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree,” Limbaugh said.
For “We’ve Got Issues,” each student selected a current topic or problem—Hurricane Katrina, depression, environmental destruction and the effect the military has on families are among the countless subjects explored in the show. As serious as the content is, the title itself is both literal and tongue-in-cheek.
“’We’ve Got Issues’ perfectly sums everything up without taking ourselves too seriously,” says Alice Groesbeck, a student who is creating artwork that uses mushrooms to address body image.
“I read about how mushrooms can release spores into the air and contaminate everything around them, causing other plants to grow a sometimes poisonous fungus,” Groesbeck says. “I realized this could be a powerful metaphor for peer pressure and how one person’s negativity can easily influence another person’s thoughts… I hope that by drawing a mushroom infecting a flower to represent body image, the viewer will be affected by my piece and remember it later on.”
For more information about the “We’ve Got Issues” exhibition and to learn more about the Art and Design Learning Community, contact Limbaugh at (301) 687-4173 or email@example.com or Rhodes at (301) 687-4047 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about FSU, visit www.frostburg.edu.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.