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A Memorable Visit With Marwen
January 5, 2018
How has the calendar already flipped to 2018?
Between holidays and end of year projects, 2017 seems like a distant memory. However, right before the end of November, we hosted a group at Cushing we won’t soon forget.
This marvelous group from Marwen was a terrific way to celebrate the final days of 2017.
What is Marwen? Glad you asked:
Marwen “provides free visual arts, college and career programming for Chicago’s young people from under-resourced communities and schools in middle through high school.” They are an awesome organization and great group of people. And celebrated their 30th anniversary last year.
This past fall, fourteen students were commissioned in one of Marwen’s career immersion programs, to create original artwork.
Where would it appear?
Marwen’s lightbox gallery and on a large-scale banner on Marwen’s building. After discussing with instructors Sarah Atlas and Lisa Lindvey, this ambitious group scheduled a tour for a hands-on experience.
It is part of a larger program we have been slowly rolling out called Cushing University. Students have an opportunity to visit the shop floor, ask questions and see how their creativity converts into real-life projects on the shop floor & beyond.
Only no homework or tests … guess you could say we’re still working on the syllabus…
We recently caught up with Sarah Atlas, Marwen’s Assistant Director of Education, on the project, and how the tour came together.
How long have you been with Marwen?
How did you end up connecting with Cushing?
Cushing has been a long time partner of Marwen, producing and printing various projects over the years.
Where did the idea to take the shop tour come from?
This fall, fourteen students were commissioned in one of Marwen’s career immersion programs to create original artwork to be featured Marwen’s lightbox gallery and on a large-scale banner on Marwen’s building.
The students worked collaboratively for ten weeks to design art pieces that authentically represent their voices to bring a new life to the outside of the building.
Cushing is the company that is doing the printing and production of the student work, as well as the installation, so it made sense to visit the print shop to see how the work will ultimately be produced.
What are the students studying in the classroom?
The students focused on studio photography and graphic design for this project.
As Cushing is printing the Marwen work, it was important for students to understand the full process of this project and to gain insight into how their work will transform from a finished digital image to work that is produced large-scale and installed on Marwen’s facade.
How can the kids apply what they learned for projects they are working on?
The students definitely gained a better understanding of post-production work and I think will be able to approach their next projects with a fuller sense of the whole process, even if they aren’t doing the printing/production/installation themselves.
Did they end up with ideas for new projects or possibilities during the tour?
They did come away with a greater understanding of all components of a large-scale public art project and the production side of this kind of work.
What are the students aspiring to be in the professional world (i.e. are they talking about becoming creative directors and graphic designers etc.?)
Our students’ professional aspirations are quite diverse, some talk about becoming photographers, some graphic designers, some unsure but want to be in a creative industry, and some do not want to go on to study or work in the arts. And some are eager to study subjects and work in professions beyond the arts.
How did the students enjoy the shop tour?
The students really loved it. Not only was it important context for their specific project, but it was also really great for them to see a creative space of working professionals and a peek into an industry not often seen in the context of Marwen studio programs. The Cushing staff were wonderful, going out of their way to make Marwen students feel welcome and appreciated as young artists.
Groups like Marwen make these opportunities possible and we are so proud to have hosted them for this shop tour! Thanks for reading the latest entry in the Cushing blog and happy new year!