Creative Audience persists despite distance

Despite the chaos and the social distancing, NVU’s Creative Audience class has been forging onward. “We have had wonderful participation so far,” Tammy Johnson, Coordinator of First-Year Experience says on the virtual Creative Audience events. Unfortunately, not every student has been able to access the virtual events.

Several events have been held over the past few weeks, and only a few more are left until the end of the semester. One recent event had students take free virtual tours of museums, then take photos to recreate their favorite paintings. Some of the virtual museums offered were the Louvre, Rijksmuseum, Uffizi Galleries, and Musée D’Orsay. Inspired by the Getty Museum Challenge, Johnson was looking forward to this event the most.

Tammy Johnson’s recreated photo of the original work “Rest” by Vilhelm Hammershøi.
“Rest” by Vilhelm Hammershøi, the original work

“I am impressed once again by the talent and creativity of our students!” she said. “It was a fun and surprisingly challenging activity to try and recreate something with just the items available in your home.”

Other events have also gone well. “The feedback has been super positive,” Johnson said. The first event, a viewing of the Netflix Documentary “Crip Camp,” was a success, and Johnson quoted several students on their positive experience learning about disability rights movements.

The transition to remote hasn’t been flawless by any means. “We discovered the day that the Revelations assignment went live that we had a link that had expired or was removed,” Johnson said. However, once the error was discovered, a replacement link was found.

Johnson said that so far, the team has “not heard from any students that they are unable to attend these virtual events.” However, contrary to what the Creative Audience team has seen, several students said they have had difficulty attending remote Creative Audience events.

“I have found it very hard to get things done quickly during this remote quarantine,” said Gabby Colby-George. “By the time I notice that there may be an event to attend, it’s either too late or I am trying to work [on other classes].”

“I have poor internet and tons of other things on my mind,” said Opal Savoy. “There have been things I’ve wanted to attend, but honestly, I’m super forgetful not being in school.”

Johnson said they are trying to make options available to every student. ” For instance, the first week was a Netflix documentary, and we know that not everyone has a Netflix account,” Johnson said. “We made sure the next week – Revelations – was available on a free YouTube video.”

“I feel like there is more work… after quarantine hit than before,” said Colby-George. “I don’t know if it’s the nature [of quarantine] making it feel harder, but it has been a constant battle for me.”

“I do appreciate the effort the professors and staff have put in,” says Savoy. She says that many of her classes are going well, and her teachers are being accommodating, “though there are some cases where it feels like the… Zoom aspect is overdone.”

“As always, we are willing to work with our students to make sure that they can fulfill their requirements and pass Creative Audience,” Johnson said. Johnson recommended students reach out if they are struggling or cannot complete requirements.

With the remote spring semester winding down, there are only a few Creative Audience Events left. Despite efforts from the faculty, many students are struggling to meet requirements. While the responses they have collected have been positive, the students who aren’t able to attend events can also not give their feedback, and so their struggles remain silent.