Art students at Concordia are enthusiastic to participate in a local print-screening exchange for the sixth annual year with Minnesota State University-Moorhead (MSUM) and North Dakota State University (NDSU). The schools traded a collection of prints with each other, which were then sent to a curator who mixed the prints, returning to each sender eighteen anonymous prints. Even professors from each school had sent in a handful of their own pictures as well.
Every year, students from the region are invited to respond to a theme. This year’s event was organized by Hannaher’s, Inc. Print Studio Manager Amanda Heidt, along with help from local printmaker Eric Johnson. The “Home: Then and Now” gallery is currently displayed at the Plains Art Museum in the Ruth and Seymour Landfield Atrium, where students will be able to view the collection until Jan. 5, 2019.
For some students, like Nadla Robb, this was their first-time exploring print-making and screen-printing.
“The project was certainly a learning experience for me, and those are always challenging,” she said. “There were a lot of mess ups and heartache. But once my edition was finished, I was really pleased with it. The exchange itself was all worth it.”
The process for making a print is laborious. Students prepare paint to push through a printer, which is then burned by light as an imprint. This itself takes time, but is particularly extended for those who normally use between five and seven layers. An amount of their time goes towards waiting for the paint to dry after each layer before they can keep working. The entire process can last weeks before the students finish their editions.
Concordia student Elaine Laliberte was also enthusiastic about the project. She sent in twenty-four prints and spent over thirty hours to finish them all.
“It’s hard and a really long process, but it’s definitely worth it. I think print making is really interesting because it reflects a culture of sharing that other art mediums do not participate in,” she said. “Stepping back and seeing how much application is involved in displaying art like this, it makes me happy that our art department worked on this, even though a lot of people don’t know about it.”
Although Laliberte enjoyed the project, there were some components that she wished had been changed. Screen-printing is a difficult process, so she and several other students wished that they had more time to finish their work. Additionally, Laliberte wishes that they had received more information about the artist’s inspiration. Although works displayed at the museum are attached with a quote from the artist, the students who were mailed prints in the mail did not receive any information about the creator’s motivation.
“I wish that we had gotten artist statements about why they did it, because artists usually run off the theme and have their own purpose” she said.
Many students appreciated being able to see a wide variety of works from around the community, which allowed them to view screen-printing from a multitude of perspectives. McKayle Carter explained why this was important, and how it connected to Concordia’s emphasis of BREW (Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World).
“I think it’s important as Cobbers for us to be engaged, both in the world and our community. This exchange gave us an amazing opportunity to create meaningful pieces that were inspired by our personal interpretations of home, while also giving us the opportunity to be a part of a larger collaboration with art students from various schools in the region,” she said.
Like other students, Carter views this experience as important in helping her become a better artist.
“The print exchange showed all of us that being adventurous and trying new things is one of the best ways for an artist to grow,” she said.