You Are Art

What was my intellectual journey?

In theory, I do not feel as though I grew up a lot, or even that a lot of time has gone by. Then I look back at where I was at the beginning of college, and think oh yeah, she grew up.

For me, my intellect and my actions were very different. My intellect, being my thinking and reasoning, was so different then how I actually acted. I knew who I wanted to be but convincing myself I was actually capable of being that person was something that took a long time. I was not confident that I was where I needed to be.

Before I was in school, I thought I was an artist because people told me I was.

Painting signs for Rose’s Mothers Day art show (2015)

I was the daughter of two architects and was doing three-point-perspective before I was even reading and writing. I was always doing art or art projects. I was seen as an artist to my peers and faculty but, looking back, I did not see myself as one. That was at least until my apprenticeship with a woman named Rose. She was a well-liked local artist who I met at an art show and ended up working for her for seven years. She was a child that never grew up, she lived in a bright pink house with polka-dot walls, she painted huge canvases of trees that were allowed to be blue, and she taught me about pushing the boundaries of art. Her art made people laugh and smile. I knew then, that art was so much more than what you made it, but what others made of it. Knowing this, made me think maybe I was an artist.

Art had the power to make people feel.

My first work of art in a gallery at college (2016)

I found my home at Plymouth State University where I knew I wanted to learn art, but I wanted to make art that meant something. I wanted to learn types of art, like graphic design, that I had never had the chance to do. I wanted to learn marketing and business so I could make the art persuasive with content. I wanted to learn psychology so I could get into the head of someone viewing my art. I wanted to learn communications so I could understand how to speak to people through my art. I wanted to learn about the environment and social issues, so my art had my passion and a power behind it. What I really really wanted was to major in “things and stuff”.

Little did I know, there was a major for that.

Graphic Design self portrait (2017)

Being able to design my own major and be the architect of my educational path was everything I did not know I needed until I had it. It was the ultimate craft, and if you know me, you know I love crafts. I was, for the first time, able to understand what I need to do, to get where I wanted to go. I had, for so long, this image of who I wanted to be and no way of getting there because I was blindly following a traditional curriculum, instead of creating this liberating learning environment. Knowing about interdisciplinary learning was a huge game changer, and it made me think okay maybe now I am actually an artist.

Things fell into place once I figured out how I would create my major so I could use art to make people feel and understand things. Art was this visual channel of communication that I so desperately wanted to learn everything about. But what was I meant to communicate?

The organization SAVE All (sexual assault and violence education alliance) found me at a time where I needed it most. The people in this group taught me the kind of lessons you do not learn in school. They empowered me, they supported me, and most importantly they gave me what it was that I was meant to use my art for.

I wanted to do for others what the people in this club did for me.

I designed a large-scale self-empowerment art project. I got a canvas the size of the wall and invited others to paint their bodies head-to-toe in their favorite color and press their bodies on the canvas, to see themselves as a work of art. Art is beautiful, even if you do not like a piece art, that does not make that work of art not art. Art, no matter who likes it and no matter what someone does it, it is still art. I wanted people to reclaim their bodies and to know that they are art. I remember doing this and think okay I was definitely wrong before this makes me an artist.

I used all parts of my interdisciplinary major to design large-scale art projects like this one every year after this, to continue the message that you are art. In every club, every class, and every job I used art in this way, I used art to make people feel something, just like Rose taught me.

Marketing Fellowship with the Alumni Association (2018)

With every class I was able to bring something new to my next opportunity. I used my skills from event marketing classes in my internship for TitleIX. I put all the communications classes to use during running open houses and being an orientation leader. In my graphic design courses, I strengthened my design abilities and then put them to practice in working for companies like Bauer Sports and my own university. Even public speaking lessons gave me the courage to go into positions like Student Body President, a role I never saw myself in until I was doing it and loving it.

The most amazing job in the IDS department where I get to do the coolest projects! (2019)

So many faculty and staff have pushed me, encouraged me, and given me the opportunities to become the person I am now. Day by day I made small choices to live as an interdisciplinarian, slowly becoming the person that four years ago I did not think I would ever be. I feel confident in my educate and what I want to do with it. I feel confident that I have all the skills I need to graduate, and I feel confident that I have the ability to be a forever learning. I feel confident in my art and my passion for using its power to change minds, so much that I think I can finally say that I am an artist and I have been this whole time.

Strengths and Weaknesses

In No Textbooks, No Lectures, and No Right Answers. Is This What Higher Education Needs? by Beth McMurtrie, she covers many topics from standardized testing, using your major in your career, and the way teachers teach. For a long time, lesson plans were about the information and not about the vehicles or the way the lessons were communicated to the students. Students learn in many different styles based on their background, the way they understand, and their learning abilities or impairments, because of this, one type or teaching or test can not accurately represent someones intelligence.

“In the age of standardized tests, where there’s always “a checklist to get an A, some students can’t handle that.”

Beth McMurtrie 

When I was in school standardized testing was the only type of testing that decided what level classes we got into, what our GPA was, and what school we were going to when we graduated. The problem with this is that not all answers are black and white. I always had questions about the questions and felt there was more then one direction or answer, and there was never the opportunity for me to draw it out of explain it verbally. For many students, standardized testing is a dreaded stressful situation; take the SATs for example, timed, silences for hours, you can not leave the room, and your entire future depends on it. How can this be the only way we judge students’ ability to retain knowledge?

Students have different strengths and weaknesses, they learn in different ways and they express the knowledge in different ways. The main three being auditory, visual, and kinesthetic, these mean the way we process information best is either by being told verbally, or being shown through diagram or infographic, and then some learn best by doing with an experiment or activity. 

In my time in higher education, I have had the pleasure of learning from professors who understand all the ways students learn best. Many teachers start classes by asking how they can be most effective to the student. What is their learning style? Do they prefer working in teams or individually? Do they want assignments online or on paper? How do they want constructive criticism? Online texts, video explanations, or physical textbooks? These are great questions to ask a student so they can get the most out of their education.

Architect of My Own Future

As an interdisciplinary studies major, I am the architect of my own education. That is a power few can say, because they follow a step by step education process where they are doing everything because they are told to, not because it is their passion. I whole heartily believe that if I could redesign the education system I would wrap the entire outline around the idea of shaping passion in student’s minds.Image result for passion learning

How education is being currently taught is an outdated structure. Instead of teaching children what we think, we should teach children how to think. This is where this force comes into play, because who says we know what is best for them. What we were taught as children could be completely irrelevant by the time they are learning it. Sugata Mitra, a professor that spoke in the short film, Future Learning, dove into this topic of obsolete education. He compares how hundreds of years ago riding a horse and fighting with a sword were taught and then became a sport, just an extra skill that was not a commonality to be taught, because it was no longer relevant. Being taught how to ride a horse was important for travel and hunting, now we learn how to drive a car or cook. Education is a growing entity. Mitra posed this question that reading and writing might one day be just a sport, just something we do for fun and that a new age of education will take cover. He does not directly believe education is broke because of this, just outdated. Here is where, if I had the opportunity to redefine education, I would follow this path of progression.

Knowledge to me is only as powerful to the person who holds it. If you, as a learner, are just taking in this education because you just want a degree or just because you want a job, that’s as far as you will ever get. Knowledge can only take you so far, the rest is all on your ambition to take that knowledge and actually make something out of it.

This brings me back to being an architect; since I am in control of my education, I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I am picking the classes in an interdisciplinary fashion, I am trying as hard as it is possible to push myself, and I am enjoying every second of learning because it is an adventure of everything I care so deeply about. In a perfect world, I see everyone having this opportunity to be an architect; to be able to learn across disciplines and stretch their knowledge to places they have never been.

Image result for relevancyYour education should be built by taking what you want to do in the future and then organizing your education to give you this knowledge to get you where you need to be. Education right now is this constant endless doctrine of the past. We need to update our times because we are not preparing students for the world we grew up it, and we are not preparing them for the world we are living in now, we have to prepare them for a world that does not even exist yet. How do you do that? You do not teach them the skills for a subject, you teach them skills for adapting, learning, communicating and thinking for themselves. These are through transdisciplinary lessons; this idea of learning in real life experience way, across a series of disciplines.

If you just prepare yourself with a specific discipline for a job, that job could be obsolete in the future; you need to prepare yourself for the passion that you are alive for, and then education yourself on the job that will allow you to do that passion. For me personally, I do not just want to be an artist because I like painting, I want to change the world, I want to spread my ideologies and art is just the medium I am doing it through. This is why when you tell a student to do something and you do not give them a reason it is because they are asking ‘why?’ What is the relevancy? What is the reason a child has to learn what you are teaching? If they do not have that passion that reasoning behind their education they will have no reason to swallow any of the knowledge fed to them in school.

Image result for teachingI have watched my mother be a teacher for eight years now and the first year she told me that every day children would ask her why they had to learn the quadrative formula, or verb tenses, or geometric shapes. After the first year of teacher we sat down and I explained to her that I said the same things I school, because I was never told why these things were important. From then on, anytime she taught a lesson she would propose the contextual thinking behind it; apply it real life and have them act out a probable situation where they would actually use this information. Never again has a student asked her why they have to learn algebra or historic dates.

The creator of KhanAcadamy stretches this believe that education should come from passion not pattern by really trying to be that inspiration in his student’s educational path. He designs his whole academic philosophy off having interest in a subject helps him want to learn and helps his students want to learn because it makes them care more. Having a good teacher is such a big part of students finding their passion because it makes them feel like there is something worth fighting for and caring about.

I have found so much freedom and power in being the architect of my own education not just as an interdisciplinary major but at Plymouth State, and there progressive teaching styles as a whole. I hope that this paper does not stay a hypothetical of how I could change education in the future but I hope it becomes a next project, so that education can become a place where everyone is the architect of their own education.


My Journey to Interdisciplinary Learning

Going into this Interdisciplinary course I had no idea what to expect. I had this idea that it was just a fancy way to have a duel major, or that it was this magical place where I could do whatever classes I wanted and still get a degree. I had no idea the extent to which I would learn about my curriculum and the fundamentals of education in a whole.

I had never even hear of interdisciplinary studies before I came to college and met someone who was involved in the program. She explained to me that she knew exactly what she wanted to do when she was older; she told me she wanted to make the art work that was in biology text books and posters, but since this was not a major she designed her own. I thought this was such a creative outlet that this school had a program that allowed you to design your own curriculum.

     When later this first year at school I was told I could not do a duel major between Graphic Design and Marketing, my Professor Phil told me that his wife was head of the IDS program here. He told me that in this program I could still take the classes I wanted to build towards the same goal of getting a job that involved the arts and Marketing.

I knew exactly the job I wanted I knew exactly the type of classes I would need to take to get there. After learning more and more about IDS, I knew that was the program I belonged in. I was so excited to build my own major and looking forward to this academic freedom. IDS to me was like my own little art project where I created this who personalized educational path for myself.

After getting into the class, my ideas about IDS only got better. I learned that IDS is so much more than just freedom in classes, but also freedom across education. It is this new perspective of fluidity in disciplines and learning platforms that comes from such an experienced based learning.

Some ideas that we talked about in this IDS course were the concepts of the renaissance’s scholar, being the jack of all trades, and this unity of knowledge. Moti Nissani talks about the Renaissance Scholar, such like Leonardo da Vinci and we have put this Renaissance Scholar imagine out of reach by making it seem like an un-achievable goal. Really though, this goal of being great at everything is something we should focus on because of how important it is to not limit our knowledge. All these concepts we discuss in class and read about all come back to broadening our education. Being “the jack of all trades, master of none” is a fake stigma of IDS because in truth we are master of all, because we are combining majors to make one new integrated field to be a master in.

This is why IDS matters so much because when we are out looking for jobs are working on real world problems, one discipline is not enough. We need to be able to attack from all sides, and have a bigger picture of understanding on the situation. Having an IDS degree puts us one step ahead in the world because we can use our  major to understand and work with others in other fields.

With my degree personally I want to be one step ahead. I do not just want to be a graphic designer; I want to be one with a back ground in business. I do not just want to be an advertiser with a sales associate; I want to be one that can think creatively. I want everyone to have this advantage so they can learn as much as possible and go as far as possible. I think the main barrier on education is closedmindedness and lack of understanding. With people studying in an interdisciplinary fashion though they can have mutable backgrounds in many fields and there for know how to approach problems from all angles.

Learning the Digital World

Before this class my media involvement started and stopped with just looking at memes. I had no public learning network where I was able to reach out to others and not only share my ideas but also learn from everyone around me.  Creating a PLN was a big step in having a presents online. My PLN is built from my professional twitter and my website where I regularly blog and talk about my educational path. To build this PLN I started with seeing what was out there. I researched other graphic designers, followed ecofriendly and social issues twitter accounts, and used articles in my papers. This covered the gaining knowledge of what is out there part of the PLN. I used other resources to increase my learning but there is so much more to it. Slowly I started feeling comfortable with putting myself out there and interacting online. Here I would tweet at other people, reblog/ message people who were posting similar things as me or just interesting topics, and tagging others in posts they might like. On the ePort I would link up articles or reference people in academic fields and then share the papers with them. This builds a connection in the professional world and has expanded not only my knowledge but my awareness of involvement.

Since my major is Graphic Arts of Promotional Communications, I mainly follow graphic artists and different marketing teams. Other graphic designers post about new techniques or programs that they are learning. It is so helpful to learn tips or watch videos of them using the same software I am using to basically see what more I can learn. The marketing twitters I follow post very creative ideas that really make you think and remind you that there are many endless possibilities to do something.

This PLN affects my major in such a positive way by giving me this whole fourth dimension to my education. Before it was just what I learned in the class room or at a job on campus, and now I have endless possibilities at my fingertips. By interacting with others it is building your public audience. By putting your name out their other companies or programs can see the work you’re doing and reach out to you. Creating your digital portfolio is a huge step in branding who you are. Now other businesses, artists, writers and so many others are reading or seeing my work. This is more than a two way street of just me learning about other and others learning about me; with a PLN it can go anywhere. The future to PLNs is endless because you can see other people connecting and value from it of share it to someone else. For example, with hashtags or tagging others in posts you can broadcast a single idea to anyone interested in the same topic as you.

The Take Away

I was sitting in class the other day and the girl next to me was asleep. The boy in front of me was on his phone, and the students in the back were passing notes. I did not notice any of this until our teacher got fed up with everyone and sent them home. That’s when I realized that more than anything, I love learning. I thought that lesson she was giving was the most interesting and engulfing content I had ever heard. I am never happier then when I am given the honor to have a teacher care so passionately about a subject and share that knowledge me with me, even if it is the history of Helvetic font.

Learning to me is such a privilege, and the lessons I have learned in some of my classes go so far beyond just skills and techniques. The lessons I have learned are bigger: they shape you to think in new perspectives.

In my Graphic Design class, we were assigned the book Type Matters by Jim Williams. This book dives into the kerning, weights, and other nerdy things like the tracking of lettering. The ideas behind how to compose type, goes far deeper than just graphic design. My teacher taught us these ideas behind art that are so much bigger and more impactful, if only you take the time to get off your phone in class and listen.

Art has this power to subconsciously be appealing to the viewer. In this class, we take these ideas that are art formulas and apply them to our work. This is the beauty of typography; that it can be reduced and simplified it to its basic compounds and still is art.

This is an idea I struggled with understanding for a long time. It’s the idea that every uneducated person struggles with when they look at moderately modern art and think, ‘why is the red dot on a giant canvas called art, even I could do that’. It’s the idea that creates a barrier. Some people only believe art is art if they find it beautiful. But art can be art whether you want it to be or not.

It never occurred to me before that other kids did not find typography interesting. The more and more I learned about type and graphic arts the more I understood that some people see art as a skill not a way of thinking. Since type is this idea of simplifying art down to its bare formula of what makes art art, why not use this idea and apply it to everything.  Jim Williams classified, “Good typography is about visualizing language through the arrangement, composition, and the choice of type.” This way of thinking with an artistic background is not about making pretty art it’s about structured and meaningful art.

This concept of meaningful, simplified art that I learned about in graphic design class flows over to other classes I am enrolled in at school. There are many components to my designed major that take in many ideas from other disciplines besides art. Many of the ideas I want to center my art around are how art can help people.

I am enrolled in a class this semester, which I thought would be nothing more than a class to count for my general education credit. However, taking Helping Skills in Society is more than just another class; it intertwines with what I want to do with my education path. We have been learning about this idea in class of these five steps to helping someone. At first I thought it over kill because I thought I knew how to help someone, but the last step really made me think about my art and how I can really be impactful.

There are five main parts to give someone help; establishing a working relationship, identifying the clients problem, helping the clients create goals, encouraging client exploration and taking action and lastly termination.

This last part: termination is where you help them only to the point where they can go figure it out for them self. By distancing yourself from the person it makes them only dependable on themselves. If you stay and walk them through the whole learning process not only will they not know how to do it on their own but they will associate you being there with success or understanding.

This lesson turned out to be a lot more valuable then I originally thought. This is because in art, you usually are not there for them to see your art. When you make art to help or educate someone it is for them to interoperate and take a message away.

This is very applicable for me because I want to use art to change minds and spread ideals. I use these first steps in my work by studying the demographic and including a call to action or inspirational piece. The ideas I learned in this helping skills class helped me broaden my view of how to use my art work.

Both these ideas and lessons apply directly to my designed major. By combining the creative perspective from art classes and the helping skills view, I will successfully because to add to my degree of Promotional Communications. The helping skills will work alongside the advertising and public relations side of it and the creativity will help with my mindset.

Jack of all Trades

Being an interdisciplinarian is to be the jack of all trades. This is an educational path that brings together all styles, disciplines, and perspectives, to create an omniscient view on the how and why of the world. To be able to view the world on this spectrum of understanding you need to be able to understand the individual disciplines that go into to build this larger platter of knowledge.

When working on real world problems or interacting outside of the classroom, having this broad skill set of knowledge comes into play. By learning in an interdisciplinary fashion you are opening yourself up to more viewpoints on assessing information.

In a study, done by the University of Alberta and group of researchers used this method of taking in all perspectives when doing one task. The team’s series of objectives started with determining if children who were exposed to domestic violence were more prone to being cruel to animals when given the opportunity compared to children not exposed to violence. Many different views went into play when doing this experiment because of all the variables.

The key parts of this experiment that you must understand are the psychological, the scientific, and the sociological.

You have to first understand the psychological influence the children are aware of. This context of the experiment is important because of the amount we take in what is around us. We are exposed to so much and this changes how we act and treat others. In the case of this experiment, they wanted to test if someone saw violence would they act more violent.

Having a psychology background in this experiment would be helpful but it will give you a limited view. If you’re only focused on why people do things you forget other factors that come into play.

You must also discern the possibilities for other influences like gender, age, and other exposure to violence. Here is where the scientific background is important; because of chemical make ups from gender when we are born there might be more aggression build into someone that factors into this experiment. In the article, Animal Cruelty by Children Exposed to Domestic Violence by Cheryl Currie, written about this study, she says that, “Animal cruelty may also be self-satisfying, as modeling the aggressor may provide feelings of power and control in what is otherwise an uncontrollable situation”. Being educated in the field of psychology can get you so far but if you are aware of the other influences you can understand the problems better because you have a wide angle on the picture.

On top of these two ways to test in the experiment, there is also sociological. This Image result for psychologydifference from the psychological aspect because it is not so much the learning from what you see but more the outside influence that society has branded. Since there is a stigma for men to be violent or those that believe humans are the most sophisticated and advanced species, then it could be a subconscious force that made the children in the experiment think that is how they treat animals. Currie addressed that so many factors are relevant when testing something that seems so specific, “It is unclear why some children emulate the violence they are exposed to and others do not”. Whether it is where they picked up these actions or if they were born with them, it is crucial to be aware that you cannot just look at it from one side.

In the experiment, they had voluntary participation where the subject had to provide evidence of the domestic violence crime. Even the boundaries for this are too broad because it is unclear to what extend they were exposed. On this statistical alone, you have to be cautions you are not limiting your understanding to one discipline of knowledge.

This article was incredibly relatable because of the way they conducted the operation. They were not close minded, but made it clear that you needed to recognize all the different parts to have a full and correct perspective.

Image result for interdisciplinaryThe way of learning where you do not put a limit on your education can create a more abstract but effective way to handle situations. In the domestic abuse testing demonstration all of the conductors worked together using knowledge each had obtained from there discipline. But by them understanding that all of their backgrounds, whether from science, retrieving data, or psychology, were prevalent they were able to see different views of this experiment that otherwise could have been dismissed.

Graphic Arts for Promotional Communications

Graphic Arts for Promotional Communications is the major I designed, combining Graphic Design, Advertising, and Communications. Through this major, I have selected core classes from each existing major to build a program that will provide me with the background I need to pursue a career in creative marketing. From these courses, I created a degree, where, through art and design, I will learn how to communicate through a visual language. For this reason, I have also constructed an infographic to describe my program in a fashion more accessible and organized. I strongly believe that communication directly correlates with presentation, which is why I chose to introduce my major in this format.

In a series of leveled graphic design courses: Graphic Design I, II, III, IV, I will progressively explore Adobe software and its relevance to a professional environment. I will build my skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, and others. These courses will also explain everything from history and principles, to the elements of art. These topics will further my education in typography and logo design. In the course, Advanced Photoshop and Illustrator Techniques, I will take the skills from my graphic design courses and explore higher skill levels necessary for technical roadblocks. I will be taught about key commands and digital shortcuts to advance my productivity. To finally test these graphic design skills in a real-world setting, I will be taking PSU Student Design Company. In this course, I will build a complete advertising department for a hypothetical organization or business. I will create everything from logos, flyers, brochures, and poster, to websites, t-shirts, and product packaging. This class gives an inside look at the professional world of being a graphic designer.

   I will compliment my graphic design skills with a business background. Principles of Marketing is a course that will guide me through the understanding of innovation and promotional strategies. This will educate me on the business side of my degree, preparing me for corporate positions. In Event Marketing I will also build on my management and advertising skills by working with branding and project-based marketing. These branding skills will carry over when I take Advertising and Promotional Management. This is a class built around the importance of marketing to specific demographics based on products. This will add to my major because it will teach me about the relationship between the company and the audience. Corporate Public Relations and Organizational Communications both build speaking and writing skills. Organizational communication has prepared me with foundation advice from moving forward to a career. We did weekly public speaking activities and writing formulas for resumes, cover letters, and professional emails. In the public relations class, I will further my writing and speaking skills and apply it to promotional strategies in marketing. This will give me the skills I need to communicate in the work area in a respectable and professional manor.

An important part of communication is Public Speaking, in this course I will learn how to effectively speak with others using body language and eye contact with fluent and relevant content. From there, I will take the course Human Communication and Conflict, where I will use my public speaking skills to explore negotiating and mediating conflicts in social settings. This will prepare me for constructive communication in the workplace. These communication skills will prepare me for another class called Communication Research Methods. This course enables students to learn about qualitative research methods and statistical procedures that we will use in conducting our own research project. In addition to verbal communication, I will study online communication as well. In Social Media Audience Engagement, we explore social media tactics to support dynamic online participation. These are key skills to develop because of how much technology is growing in all industries. All of my communication classes will add a professional, organized fluidity to my future career.

Many people have asked me: why not just do a dual major, or a major and a minor? The short answer has always been that it was not enough for me. However, the full story involves how I feel about education as a whole. I believe everything I learn, whether it is obvious or not, will help push me further down the pathway to success.  For every career, I will use many more skills than just what a single major degree could teach me. This is why I did not just want to be just a graphic designer or work in advertising, because there is so much more than just the art background or being a businesswoman. In art, I need to learn how to market myself, and in marketing I need to understand the best way to present my information to my customers.  Expanding my education to this level, where I include many disciplines, not only increases my chances of getting a job in any of these fields, but also puts me one step ahead in my field. Interdisciplinary studies gives me a broader skill set of knowledge. Designing my own major is a liberating way to pick and choose exactly what courses will give me the dynamic abilities to get where I want to be.

Ways to Success Through Multidisciplinary Learning

Interdisciplinary project based learning is arguably the best path to success in my opinion. An interdisciplinary study allows the learner to broaden their academic and personal skill set. It allows you to open yourself up to many other important fields that are helpful, but not directly built in to your major. According to many educational new letters and community companies there has been a “way to success” process called The Four C’s. Accomplishing The Four C’s will make you an ideal candidate for jobs and a productive worker. This ties into interdisciplinary studies because they both work to build a wide range of abilities.

The Four C’s are; Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical thinking. These are skills are not the commonly seen classes like English, Science, and Math, because they are not taught as much as they are learned through experience. The goal by interdisciplinary projects is that by exploring different disciplines you become open to how these four C’s are laced into mock real life programs.

Image result for take back the night plymouth state universityHere at Plymouth State University we created cluster programs specifically for this reason of providing a chance for students to experience an integrated assignment where they can learn skills such like; communication, collaboration, creativity, or critical thinking. These cluster projects are all success stories of students working together to learn more and take action.

One specific cluster project that I see as a great success was the Take Back the Night forum held on campus. This multi-disciplinary project brought together not just an arrangement of different majors but also stakeholders around campus. Majors that took part were criminal justice, English, social work, and woman studies, along with it being open for No automatic alt text available.any students to take part in. Many clubs or organizations on campus also took part in putting this event together, such like; SAVE All (Sexual Assault and Violence Education Alliance), Title IX, Criminal Justice Club, and Mixed Emotions (accapella group). The trans-disciplinary part of this project was the non-academia partnering that was brought to work with Take Back the Night. This outside involvement was from the local police departments and Voices against Violence. Image result for voices against violence

The purpose of this Take Back the Night forum was to hold an interactive conference where public speakers came and educated about sexual violence, assault, protection, and prevention. This forum not only educated students about the vocabulary, statistics and seriousness of these issues but also informed them about the services and how to handle them. By bring different majors together it allowed people with different sets of knowledge to education everyone on the parts they knew the most about. Multi-disciplinary learning is accentual because every major has something to bring to the table, and by sharing the background each has, everyone can gain different perspectives.

The criminal justice majors and Title IX brought the legal background about how different actions are taken when specific situations happen. There background was also accompanied by University police talking about procedures involving attacks. The English department wrote poems and Mixed Emotions sang, used the power of words to express personal stories and make everyone feel like they were not alone. The social work and prevention clubs shared what we can do to raise awareness and how to spread education on the topic. Together they covered how to communicate problems with each other and outside groups. The teams also learned about collaboration by working with so many departments to make an event like this possible. By including poetry and music and interactive self-expression crafts they made it creative so people could learn through another outlet that was not just speakers. Everyone learned critical thinking skills when they put together this program and worked together to build a future call to action in order to prevent further sexual assault and violence.

This multi and trans-disciplinary project was such a success because when groups of different disciplines work together they share knowledge and spread ideas. Big developments like this one and many other cluster programs also build skills necessary for real life and work fields that are not usually taught in classes.

Art in the Subconscious

Communication through the visual language opens up a new dimension of non-verbal inspiration. That is where the power of art lies. Art has the power to subconsciously change minds. Art cannot be stopped.  If you disagree with what someone is saying you can stop talking to them, or choose the only hear what you want to hear, but art is not yours to control. It is out there and once you see it, you understand it for yourself not because someone else told you to.

That is the visual key: no one is telling you want to do because art has a psychological way of getting inside your thoughts, and having you learn on your own what the art is trying to convey.

The art portion of my major, that I am designing, guides all my other decisions, concerning my academic journey. Art is in everything; whether you know it or not. It is because of my art background that I understand how to bring creativity into everything that I do.

It took a long time for me to see how much it really was in everything though. Here is where that controversy for specializing in art lies; it is historically seen as an easy major, or seen as a useless major. I have lost count the amount of times I have heard “starving artist” jokes, because of this taboo to major in art. It used to be that if you went to school for art you would either be an artist or an art teacher, and those were your only choices. Fields beyond studio art were not as common and art was seen as something you could only succeed in if you were rich or after you died.

Art has changed so much since this time because this idea of thinking creatively has bled its way through all disciplines. What people do not realize if that there is a science behind art; there is a reason we find it appealing, whether it is because of Rule of Thirds or the Fibonacci sequence. There is a psychology to it, for example color theory explains our association and feelings towards art because of visual connections we make daily with certain colors. This is the power that artist holds, they can make you Image result for color theory emotions chartsubconsciously feel emotions while observing their art. This applies to other disciplines because they are all about understanding and communicating. Whether you are in sales, health, or legal systems, you will need to be able to understand your audience and connect. Art is a form of this human expression that is all about this message.

Here at Plymouth State they really emphasize on this “why does art matter?” way of teaching, because they understand the push back art majors already have. The teachers really stress that you use art in every job and all the opportunities that are out there for us.

I have been able to learn so many skills I never thought I would be able to explore. I have done everything from building a boat, screen printing, sculptures, web design, and 3d printing. These might seem like something I will never use in a field of typography but it’s the opposite. I learned about planning and precision. Building a boat taught me about how exact you must be and screen printing showed me how to market myself in selling t-shirts that I have created with a linoleum block print.

When it comes down to it that is what art is. It is so much more then sketching and painting, it is a way of looking at something and communicating. Art is a way of thinking that should be explored by everyone because it helps them understand the ‘what if’s and the ‘way’s.

Everything from the way it is taught, the elements of art its self, and especially the fundamentals behind its reason makes art the backbone of not only my interdisciplinary major, but also the backbone of how many other majors need to view their fields with an open mind.