Incoming CVPA students create one-of-a-kind artwork

The artwork created by the incoming students.
The artwork created by the incoming students.

New students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) participated in a community learning experience to kick off the new academic year.

The CVPA organizes a team-building activity that involves students working together to create a work of art during Quest, which is Radford University’s orientation for incoming students. Last year, Quest students did the activity Paint Like Pollock, where students created artwork in Pollock’s style on a blank canvas. This year, students created a puzzle, where each individual student painted their own abstract design on a blank puzzle piece. The completed puzzle was assembled and hung in CVPA Dean Margaret Devaney’s office.

A blank 200-piece puzzle was the canvas – which was inspired by the work of New York artist Tim Kelly. Kelly’s project, called “The Puzzle Art Installation and Collaborative Project,” has the artist creating canvas from puzzle pieces. Various organizations paint 24” x 24” foam puzzle pieces that depict a meaningful story, which are later placed in the puzzle.

“The students completely blew me away with their work,” said Donna Oliver, academic advising coordinator in the CVPA. “We let the students choose whichever puzzle piece they wanted. Sometimes it would almost look like they purposely connected with the other pieces, but it was random.”

Oliver said that the theme of the activity was “we’re all pieces of the same puzzle.”

Upon completion, the puzzle was matted and hung in Devaney’s office – which helped showcase the theme of the activity. The framed puzzle piece has helped transform the Trinkle Hall office into a true exhibition space that exhibits artwork by students, faculty, community artists and the permanent collection.

“We limited the color palette so the colors weren’t too crazy,” Oliver said. “Every incoming student contributed to it, as well as the advisors. Before the students started, we talked about why we were doing this project, the inspiration and what an abstract design meant. What the students did was amazing.”

The color palette consisted of warm yellows, greens, blues and purples, which the students applied to their small canvas in shapes, colors and textures. While participating in the project, the students were able to meet fellow CVPA students from around the college.

“They were very excited to do this project,” Oliver said. “They’re able to meet and talk to their peers in a casual environment.”

Oct 3, 2017
Max Esterhuizen