Art majors to seek inspiration in Empire State

Alex Hagen

An important part of Whitman’s art major program is the thesis, or final project, that the senior art majors produce near the end of the school year. To gather inspiration for their respective projects, the senior art majors make an annual pilgrimage to New York City.

From Nov. 16-20, the students will visit many famous museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New Museum and the Guggenheim, as well as independent art galleries. The current political atmosphere in New York, influenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement, will provide an additional source of stimulation.

“The questions around class inequalities have been of great concern in the arts for ages,” said Assistant Professor of Art Justin Lincoln in an email.

The students may also meet with an artist in a studio, getting a chance to view the creative process firsthand.

“Art’s an experiential thing,” said senior Sam Alden. “It’s not the same reading about a piece, especially in contemporary art.”

Overall, the trip is an opportunity for students to gain new ideas for their work, especially their theses.

“The trip seems to open many students’ eyes to new possibilities of how to make their work and what conceptual or formal issues really compel them,” said Lincoln.

“I’m just trying to go in with as open a mind as I can and hopefully be inspired by something in particular,” said senior Julia Schneider.

Though both Whitman and Walla Walla foster a vibrant artistic community, traveling to the East Coast gives students a greater connection to the outside art world.

“This will give me another environment to take photos in and experiment with the drastic architecture and diverse community of people,” said senior Hayley Mauck in an email.

The experience of the trip will be enhanced by the art department’s Teagle Grant, which aims to create a dialogue about the new ideas gleaned from the students’ experience. After the trip, the art majors will produce a collaborative project, which they plan to display on campus in the spring.