Drawn to Art – She Roars :: Article from SRQ magazine by Brittany Mattie

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Ten illustration students from Ringling College of Art and Design tell ten inspiring stories of women artists to create a comic book series for the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

BECAUSE OF ITS HISTORY. The words are the name of a project funded by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. The initiative aims to create a more equitable America by researching, disseminating and amplifying the stories of American women. And after a series of conversations between the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and the Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD), an aligned creative collaboration kicked off with board members on either side. “We thought: it would be cool to use the fund intended for empowerment of women to build a team of student artists to each tells and illustrates the story of a female artist in its special collections? ‘ Says Kendall Brugger, professor of art and design business and director of INDEX for RCAD.

The essence of Ringling College’s INDEX program, which stands for “Industry Experience,” explains Brugger, is to provide students with an experimental opportunity in their field by connecting them with leading brands. and customers – teaching them fundamentally how to develop creative solutions to business challenges, speak with customers, learn about industry best practices, meet deadlines and produce deliverables.

This year’s INDEX program saw 29 illustration students enter the Ringling INDEX competition of the College of Art and Design. A winning group of ten illustration students was ultimately chosen. Their task? Create a series of biographical sketches based on the lives of ten selected female artists. “This INDEX project with the Smithsonian American Art Museum has been a phenomenal career opportunity for our students,” said Ringling College of Art and Design President Dr. Larry R. Thompson. “Working to tell the stories of these important women artists called on the talent, creativity and collaborative ability of our students. “

Uniquely to note, what these artists selected by SAAM have in common is that they have all, for various reasons, been neglected – unfortunately, have not received the attention they deserve in their lifetime. “The similarity between all of their stories is that they didn’t really have a ton of recognition for their work while they were actively producing artwork, or alive,” says Brugger. “It’s kinda sad, we see it all the time in the creative realm – fame tends to come after an artist dies. So this project was basically a way to give them a platform of recognition that should have been given and earned, while they were still alive or producing.

The SAAM exhibition, entitled “Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists”, is made up of a series of short comics made up of 12 to 16 images each. Each comic strip in its own right represents the works of ten women artists from around the world while the RCAD student-illustrators were invited to visually convey their stories. Their creations were inspired by graphic novels, using illustration to share short visions of the artists’ lives, giving these ten young creatives the opportunity to identify with the struggles and triumphs of their twin visionary, to come together. see reflected and draw strength from it. visibility.

“The students read their biographies, studied their work, they each found a woman with whom they bonded personally. And we did our best to match them with the artist of their choice, ”Brugger shares. “It was amazing to watch their affinity for their artist’s story grow, whether it was because they were both from the same country or race, maybe shared a similar background or could relate to similar life experiences. They all seemed to find a synergy that helped them conceptualize their comic book story.

See more of each story To americanart.si.edu/art. Find out more about “Because of its history” To historyfemme.si.edu


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