The final critiques are over. Lockers have been emptied; art work and materials have been claimed and taken away. The first year student’s exhibition “Out of the Grey” (2014) is finished, and the second year’s graduation exhibition “elsewhere” is a memory. The studios are being cleaned and/or altered. There’s hardly anyone around.
As I glanced through the window of my photography classroom on my way to my office, this sight gave me a pang of sadness. It’s so…empty. The studio is empty and quiet–unnaturally so, I might add. It unnerves me, to be honest. It’s like a cemetery. But thinking of this empty studio and reminding myself that has seen nearly 40 years of students using it, a cemetery is the most certainly the wrong way to think of it. Perhaps it’s more like a semi colon in a sentence–a pause before continuing. I tell myself I should not be saddened by an empty studio. It’s part of the process–part of semester’s end. It is the pause before continuing, whatever that continuing may mean for me, as an instructor, and for them, our recent graduates. It is a reminder that the instructors and technicians, together, have ushered another group of visual arts students through a program where they have engaged in life-changing learning; where they have created and experimented–have tried and failed, have tried and succeeded. And in addition to taking their experiences and skills with them, they also have created memories and cultivated friendships that will remain with them throughout their lives.
But it still marks an end, this empty studio. Semester’s end.
But really, if the truth be told, it is also a reminder of future possibilities—that a new cycle will begin in a few short months as the returning students come back to finish their last year in the program, and the faces of a new cohort grace our classrooms. But for now, the classrooms are quiet until the Fall when students re-populate these spaces of learning, risk-taking, and exploring, animating that which is currently still.
Semester’s end is really only a semi colon.
adapted from my blog entry on fearlesscreatives.com posted on May 15, 2012