Community Program Grants Awarded, Next Deadline 2/15

Sara Leidner is coordinator for student organizations and involvement in UMBC’s Office of Student Life.

Sara LeidnerThe deadline to apply for BreakingGround Community Program Grants has been extended to February 15, 2013. All UMBC offices, departments and recognized student organizations are eligible for this award, funded by the Provost’s Office. Three innovative community projects have already received funding:

Accessibility Hack Day: UMBC’s Prototyping and Design Research Lab (Department of Information Systems) will engage students in a competition to develop and test ideas for making video games that are accessible to people with various disabilities. Participants in this daylong event on campus will form project groups, propose ideas, build prototypes and submit their designs to a panel of expert judges, including representatives from nonprofit organizations serving people with disabilities. The goal of the project is to spark students’ interest in developing innovative technical solutions for people with disabilities, not just in the context of voluntary service but in their careers in technology-related fields.

Community Arts Projects at UMBC Professional Development Schools: UMBC’s Teacher Education Unit (Department of Education) will support UMBC students aspiring to be teachers as they develop community arts projects with teachers, students and parents at selected local elementary schools (most of which serve families living at or below poverty level). The projects will be designed to deepen cultures of collaboration at each school site; increase UMBC students’ awareness of, and experience in, working with racially, ethnically, economically, and linguistically diverse populations; and enhance all parties’ awareness of the role of the arts in teaching, learning, and community building.

Food for Thought: The UMBC Graduate Student Association will work with local partner Food for Thought to address “food deserts”: urban neighborhoods in which residents face significant challenges in procuring healthy food. UMBC graduate students will teach young people in Pigtown/Washington Village about healthy choices, introduce them to the local community garden, help them plant container gardens of their own, provide cooking classes, and help them become advocates for themselves and their communities in connection with food issues. Participating graduate students will gain connections with each other and with community partners, reflect together on food justice issues, and consider how to integrate lessons from their experiences into their lives.

Contact the author, Sara Leidner, at sleidner@umbc.edu.

From the Archives: Pathways and Public Space

Lindsey Loeper ’04, American Studies, is an archivist at UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery.

Lindsey LoeperWhen we talk about the history of UMBC, the people of UMBC are usually the focus: What were they studying, how were they living, and what concerns or issues did they discuss or debate? But site-based and community histories often include a look at the surroundings, or built environment, of a community. What spaces were former UMBC students occupying? What does the development and growth of these spaces say about the priorities of our administration and student body? Just like programs, courses and policies, UMBC’s pathways and public spaces reflect somebody’s effort to change our institution for the better, so studying the spaces is one way of exploring the history of innovation on campus.

One aspect of UMBC’s physical space that has captured my interest is art, particularly when it has been displayed outside of the designated gallery spaces in the Library, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, and The Commons. I am interested in how UMBC has chosen to use artwork to decorate or manipulate the landscape and how our students and staff have interacted with this artwork.

UMBC has a surprisingly strong tradition of large sculpture installations throughout our campus. In the photos below I have highlighted only a few, including several that are still visible on campus today. What do they tell you about the vision of their creators, and how do they resonate with you as manifestations of UMBC’s culture?

All images are from the University Archives, or were taken by me, unless otherwise noted.

“Boxes,” by Shane Eversfield Smith (1981). This installation was made by UMBC alumnus Shane Smith, circa 1981. It’s possible that this sculpture was located near the Library for a student exhibition; the benches in the photograph suggest that it may have also been installed by the UC or Academic IV buildings. In an article from The Retriever (vol. 15, no. 2), Smith describes his work: “Located in the upstairs library walkway, the ten identical modular units provide a glimpse of what may be the future in sculpture and design. As Smith put it, "My art is a revealing science, in that it follows a specific experimental design. It is a perpetual quest forever present knowledge." Smith continued to work on his sculpture and taught Dance classes at UMBC after he graduated.

This installation was made by UMBC alumnus Shane Smith, circa 1981. It’s possible that this sculpture was located near the Library for a student exhibition; the benches in the photograph suggest that it may have also been installed by the UC or Academic IV buildings. In an article from The Retriever (vol. 15, no. 2), Smith describes his work: “Located in the upstairs library walkway, the ten identical modular units provide a glimpse of what may be the future in sculpture and design.” As Smith put it, “My art is a revealing science, in that it follows a specific experimental design. It is a perpetual quest forever present knowledge.” Smith continued to work on his sculpture and taught Dance classes at UMBC after he graduated.

[Read more…]

Collaboration Produces GSA Art Gallery (photos)

Romy Jones, a doctoral student in UMBC’s Language, Literacy & Culture program, is Community Liaison for the Office of Graduate Student Life.

A process that began with a reorganization of office furniture, and a conversation among UMBC graduate students about what to do with the bare walls in our office, has culminated in the creation of a new art gallery.  The beautiful gallery, a collaboration between UMBC’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) and Imaging and Digital Arts (IMDA) program, is a modest symbol and example of meeting a challenge by leveraging our community’s assets.

In this case, we knew our IMDA graduate students were producing remarkable works.  What we discovered when we reached out to people affiliated with the program was that they were eager for an opportunity to help create our collective experience of the campus. The art they produced serves in part as a monument to the idea that UMBC graduate students are producers, not just consumers, of our education and of the university itself.

GSA is especially grateful to Shana Palmer and the students from ART 610, as well as IMDA Graduate Program Director Steve Bradley, who turned this vision into reality.  UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, Provost Philip Rous, Vice Povost and Dean of the Graduate School Janet Rutledge, Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences John Jeffries, Associate Dean of the Graduate School Robert Deluty and graduate students from many departments took time out of their busy schedules to pay tribute to this community building project that celebrates innovation and collaboration among graduate students, faculty, and administrators. [Read more…]