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College of Fine Arts Students Tap into Creativity while Social Distancing

Published April 27, 2020

To prioritize the safety of faculty, staff, and students, Florida State University has decided to close its campus and transition to online learning until further notice. Despite the challenges, College of Fine Arts students have found new ways to practice their crafts while social distancing.

While in quarantine, Art student Brittney Pieper has worked on personal decorative projects.

Chloe Richards, a junior in the Department of Interior Architecture and Design, has used her time in quarantine to step outside of the box and hone her visionary skills. “

Switching to online learning has given me more time to do personal projects and reawaken my creativity. I’ve been able to do virtual consultations for friends to redesign their rooms in their homes. I do it just for fun while trying to help others.

Like Interior Design students, Art and Art History majors have used their time during quarantine to work on personal projects, push the envelope with their creativity, and explore other mediums.

Daniela Villasana, an upcoming graduate, is using the help of her professors to step outside of her comfort zone and experiment with her photography.

In my advanced photography classes, they require special equipment that we no longer have access to, so our professors have been really accommodating and are encouraging us to find alternative definitions of what a photograph means.

Art student Daniela Villasana has been using her time to master embroidery and incorporate it into her photography.

“Personally, I have been using ‘photographic methods’ that don’t require a camera, such as anthotypes, which are photographs that use sun and light-sensitive natural materials to make an image. For example, I use turmeric! It has also been nice to step away from photography a little bit and work on things like painting and embroidery which I also incorporate into my work.”

Brittney Pieper, a current junior double majoring in Studio Art and Art History, is also using her time to challenge herself to be more independent and self-taught. According to Pieper, her new schedule has allowed her to experiment with new styles and trust her instincts as an artist. “I’ve been painting a lot of decorative things, like home renovation and interior design work,” said Pieper. “I love decorative art, but I can’t really do this type of work for my classes. Having the free time to work on it has actually been really fun!”

Dance students are experiencing a loss of community, inherent in the art form. But even if they’re dancing alone, they appreciate the fact that they can still grow as dancers with the help of online resources.

My professors are sending us dance videos and Zoom links so we can dance together, stay connected, and move together during class time. I’m also taking a ton of Instagram Live and YouTube dance class videos to try new and different styles and to indulge in my favorite styles. I try to dance at least once a day to be in a positive mood!

– Olivia Hopkins, Dance

Theatre students have crafted solutions to a challenge outside the classroom – how to gain future employment.

Since a lot of summer theatre internship opportunities have been cancelled and in-person auditions have shifted during this time, I’ve been working on self-tapes.

– Rhiannon Karp, Theatre

A self-tape is an audition the actor films on their own and then sends in remotely. The forum has become common among professional casting agents and directors. These tapes can focus on various performance styles including singing, performing a monologue, dancing, or a combination of all three.

Matthew Siperstein, another School of Theatre student in performance-based classes, has also used his time to film self-tapes, but is also stretching his creative muscles in other ways.

Outside of performance, Siperstein has been writing musical theatre. On his own, he has written a short play and is currently drafting the plot for a longer theatrical work. “Writing songs is an incredibly collaborative process, as I usually write the lyrics and a composer tackles the music,” said Siperstein. “I’ve reached out to several of my musician friends over the past few weeks, and we’ve been playing around and writing random songs to flex our creative muscles throughout the quarantine.”

While discussing the difficulties that theatre students are facing due to quarantine, Siperstein is still looking on the bright side:

It’s disappointing, [but] it is not any reason to give up or stop creating. If anything, it’s encouragement to look forward to when this is all over; when we can reapply or re-audition or remount and share our creations.

“[Fellow student] Adam Lacy and I wrote a musical that was supposed to premiere on-campus during the last weekend of March. Now, we have the opportunity to make some edits and present a more polished piece in the Fall. It’s not the schedule we had planned on, but it’s the one we’ve got, and we’re going to make the best of it!”