SDSU plans virtual visual arts showcase

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San Diego State University announced Friday that students and faculty are creating an online repository to document how visual artwork projects are being adapted to fit the new reality of distance learning during the pandemic.

While SDSU migrated all courses in March to virtual platforms for the remainder of the school year, many classes that traditionally relied on physical collaboration or access to specialized spaces or equipment — such as art exhibits, performances, plays and recitals — are being reimagined to be delivered remotely, using tools like videos and virtual discussion boards to showcase students’ work.

The audiovisual repository will serve as a platform for students to share their art projects as well as document and discuss the challenges of presenting the work virtually, according to the university.

“Everyone has been challenged to present their art independently in a virtual environment, which is radically different than collaborating with others in a theater, studio, recital hall, or gallery space,” Eric Smigel, chair of SDSU’s fine arts program Arts Alive, said in a press release. “We’d like to provide a platform for the students’ work, but we’re especially interested in how they adapted to this unusual situation.”

The university will also release a short documentary to showcase the creativity and ingenuity of students and faculty during the pandemic.

With COVID-19 putting a stop to in-person classes, collaboration and events, art students across the country have been faced with many the same challenges to move their work online. At the University of Cincinnati College, acting classes that were unable to host in-person performances have produced a video series to showcase students’ work. And at Dartmouth College, professors are working one-on-one with students in their studio-art and music departments to adjust work to an online format.

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