Poets and artists are now in the beginning stages of planning and creating their collaborative artworks, which will be displayed on the second floor of the I.D. Weeks Library through the spring semester.
Titled “Collaborations,” the project matches up a writer-artist pair, who work together to create and decide on a central theme for their work.
Senior artist Nick Patterson said he and his partner initially wanted to create a painting and then write their poem.
“We thought about doing that, but a painting can sometimes take a bit longer than getting the rough draft of a poem done,” Patterson said. “So we thought we would go with a poem that he had already started to flesh out and then maybe create a painting based off of the central theme of his poem.”
The biggest challenge is attempting to compromise between two creative minds, Patterson said.
“I don’t think either person involved in the collaboration really wants to sacrifice your artistic integrity,” Patterson said. “So you kind of just have to find that middle ground where you can both make something, (and) be proud of it.”
Patterson said he is not sure what to expect but is hoping to apply what he learns to his future artwork.
Danielle Loftus, an associate professor who handles the project, said the collaboration was inspired a few years ago by a project in Sioux Falls.
“There’s not very many places around campus to display things like this, and we thought because it was combining the written word along with the visual, the library would be a good place to display it,” Loftus said. “It’s been really successful.”
Participants do not have to be English or art majors to join, said Michelle St. Vrain, interim director of University Art Galleries and Collaborations project coordinator. Once students submitted samples of their artwork or writings, St. Vrain and fellow project coordinator Audrey Larsen worked to create pairs and also took into account educational level.
“It may have been a situation where these two students had similar subject matter, or the students had maybe some type of tone in their writing or in their artworks,” St. Vrain said.
Loftus mentioned there is sometimes a shortage of writers.
“Some years, we struggle to get enough poets,” Loftus said. “We always seem to get enough artists, so hopefully we can continue to do it.”
There will be a reception April 21, during which writers will recite their poems and artists will interpret their piece, St. Vrain said.
St. Vrain said in addition to being on display on campus, the pieces will be available digitally, and she encourages students to join.
“The library does a great job of documenting all the pieces, and they get put onto their website, where people nationally can access them,” St. Vrain said. “So it’s another resume line, and then also it’s another fun project that USD can do to show the rest of the U.S.”
Loftus also recommended students take part in the program.
“It’s fun to work with other people outside your department, because the creative process, kind of thinking outside the box, is really important,” Loftus said. “The library isn’t just a place for books, it’s a place where you can do all kinds of things.”