MURRAY, Ky. — High school students from the greater region visited Murray State University during the last week of June for the 2018 Creative Arts Workshops sponsored by the University’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

The Creative Arts Workshops are a collection of week-long events held each summer at Murray State where high school students interested in visual art, creative writing or vocal performance attend various seminars and activities in their field of interest, including the Summer Art Workshop for visual arts, the Purchase Area Writers Workshop for creative writing and the Vocal Arts Camp for vocal arts. A total of 79 students from Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois attended the three camps that took place June 24–30.

“These workshops provide the opportunity to focus on creative writing, visual arts or vocal performance in an intense setting while working with the extraordinary faculty at Murray State University,” said Nicole Hand, professor of art and assistant dean for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. “These workshops build on what students have learned in high school and provide them with in-depth and specialized instruction.”

The Summer Art Workshop, which was directed by Jeanne Beaver, associate professor of art and design, covered elements of art and explored different mediums. As the students learned about art theory and practice, they worked independently and collaboratively to create one-of-a-kind works of art. With a number of new workshop classes offered for the 2018 session, students learned about painting, collage and color theory from Danielle Mužina, monotype printmaking and wearable art from Ann Flowers-Gosser, video gaming and animation from Jeremy Gosser, jewelry and metalsmithing from Beaver, ceramics from John Utgaard and contemporary art from Chris Lavery.

The Purchase Area Writers Workshop offered young writers an opportunity to hone their craft while participating in group workshopping and receiving one-on-one advising. The workshop was directed by Dr. Jeff Osborne, associate professor of English, and featured several sessions by published authors and poets, including a poetry seminar with Dr. Carrie Jerrell, a poetry workshop with Evelyn Conley, a fiction seminar with Osborne and a fiction workshop with Will Miller. The individual seminars and workshops covered a variety of topics, ranging from line breaks in poetry to capturing readers’ attention with the first sentence or paragraph of a story. Throughout the week, students read and discussed works of fiction and poetry to explore literary elements, such as character, meter and plotting, before taking a turn at creating works themselves.

“The Purchase Area Writers Workshop is designed specifically for talented high school students interested in sharpening their creativity and expanding the power of their imagination,” Osborne said. “Even for students who don’t think of themselves as serious writers, writing creatively — especially learning the craft of writing creatively — improves writing and cognitive skills more generally. Employers are increasingly in need of people with effective communication skills and people who are imaginative and creative. Another benefit [to the workshop] is in the community the students build with one another.”

During the Vocal Arts Camp, participating students discovered the art of solo singing: receiving voice lessons and participating in acting, movement and studio voice classes. Students also took part in mock musical theater or college auditions to receive feedback from faculty to help prepare for future auditions. The Vocal Arts Camp culminated with a student showcase recital at the end of the week. The camp was directed by Dr. Maribeth Crawford, assistant professor of music, with sessions led by Crawford, Dr. Christopher Mitchell, Elizabeth Huling, Jasmine Davis, Craig Price and Jennifer McGuire.

Participating students for all three workshops gained invaluable feedback from Murray State faculty and professionals in the community. They also utilized the resources available on campus.

“[The students] have the opportunity to connect with faculty here, establishing mentorships they should build on if they choose Murray State [for their undergraduate experience], and they are exposed to new classes and materials they may not have access to in high school,” Hand said. “They also work in our fantastic studios, labs and performance spaces to experience what it would be like to be a student at Murray State.”

The week of workshops was also an opportunity for the students to experience college life at Murray State. Students stayed in the residence halls on campus and enjoyed meals in Winslow Dining Hall in addition to having access to the University’s wellness center and swimming pool. Extracurricular activities took place in the evenings, including film screenings, open mic nights, performances and more.


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