Though our passions may have drifted elsewhere in the past several years, we were all kindergartners at one point, drawing birds as V’s and putting smiley faces on our suns. We’ve all been artists, but for some, that childlike love for art never faded and neither did the paint on their fingers.
On May 28, I had the pleasure of attending Ann Phong’s Earth Day Exhibit, an art reception hosted by the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), Art Program in the Bronco Student Center (BSC, Bldg. 35).
The multimedia exhibit showcased numerous students’ outstanding drawings, paintings and collages handpicked by Cal Poly Pomona professor, Ann Phong. As a nod to Earth Day, the exhibit raised awareness concerning the environment and its dilemma with pollution.
After the event, I had a chance to sit down with art professor, Ann Phong and ASI Art Program assistant Maria-Lisa Flemington, and ask them a few questions about art as a major influence in not only their lives, but students’ as well.
What do you hope students take from this exhibit?
Phong: This exhibit really raises concerns about the environment because the subject matter is so broad. It affects our everyday life. When you think about it, even our city and state is greatly affected by pollution, and one person cannot clean that up; we need everybody. When you look at these pieces, they force you to think about what they mean—what they’re saying about the environment. We should walk away thinking about how we can change this problem.
How has art positively affected your life?
Phong: I think we all have the power to express any and all issues that are a concern to us. I love being able to use that power to voice what’s important to me through art. I believe that’s a very positive impact, and I really enjoy it.
Flemington: It has helped me communicate my vision of what I see and feel to others.
Why do you think art is an integral part of most students’ lives?
Phong: If you think about life without fine art, it’s kind of… boring. Art isn’t just about looking, it’s about making you think, feel and connect, and we need that in life. It’s a powerful concept, and I think that’s why students love it so much. The end goal is to get you thinking and art does that.
Flemington: People relate to art on an instinctual level. Something appeals to us and we are not always certain why. It is important to nurture the things that make us feel good, inspire us and challenge us.
How do you think art (of all mediums) can change the world?
Phong: You know, it’s not only art majors here. Many students of many different majors have come here today, and that’s amazing in itself. How does that happen? The subject matter touches everybody. Art matters to all.
Flemington: It can communicate a vision for others to share. If it is a concept, a quote or a musical performance.
What would you say to those who don’t believe art is a promising future?
Phong: If you only look at art one way, the future may not look as promising, but if you really are passionate about this and you use art in your everyday life, not only in terms of a career, it will really open up a lot of opportunities, so it all comes down to how you really view art.
Flemington: The road might not look as paved as others but success isn’t always measured in the same way.
Any advice for students still exploring their artistic abilities?
Phong: Just do it. Persist because art is something you can always improve at. Just keep going.
Flemington: Continue to create and make connections and network.
So there you have it: art is a necessary and vital component to our students’ lives. Still don’t believe us? Well, did you know that music and theater education can result in higher achievement in math and reading? Or that in 2008, a study showed that students involved in art education scored higher on standardized tests than those who weren’t? Read more about it here!
For more information on the ASI Art Program, call (909) 869-4829 or visit the ASI Art Program Facebook or website, and remember to check out these awesome pieces by the Conferences & Events Lobby in the BSC, Broncos!
Tell us how important art is to you with the hashtag, #CampusCropChat!