High school students tour Art & Design program

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The University of Southern Mississippi Art and Design School hosted an open house welcoming high school and college students on Nov. 2. The school showcased each of its departments to the students by providing interactive demonstrations.

Professor of Art History and Faculty Lead for Art and Design Dr. Jennifer Courts attended the open house and assisted students in their tour of the school.

“Today’s open house is one of our favorite events that we do every year,” Courts said, “It invites area high school and community college students in. They get to meet our faculty, and I think the highlight of it is they get to do hands-on demonstrations in all of our different areas.”

Students currently a part of the Art and Design School volunteered for the event to shadow the students attending. Graphic design senior Maryssa Everett volunteered for the ‘Mural Mania’ wall outside of the George Hurst building. Students were able to graffiti designs from stencils made in the labs.

“For Mural Mania we wanted to show the students coming in that there is more to art than just drawing and sculpture, and we wanted to show them that there is also a much more modern aspect to it,” Everett said, “It is something that can be taken out of the studio and taken outside and experimented with, and that it is not something that is confined to the walls of one building – though it can be on the side of a building. Today we are using stencils made from our laser etcher to show the depth and the range of what we have to offer here.”

The touring high school and college students were able to experience still life drawing as well as monoprinting with Professors Mark Rigsby and Carolyn Norton.

“We do monoprints because they are very quick for students to do,” Norton said, “The students will take a piece of acrylic, cover it with printing ink and use various materials like Q-Tips, cardboard and paper to make non-objective compositions. It is then run through the press and when it’s lifted the students are pretty wonderstruck at the results.”

Professor Mark Rigsby enjoyed spending time with the students and teaching them about the printing process.

“The students have been having a great time. They’ve been collaborating and will be able to take home a small print today. Once a year we have this open house and it’s a recruitment event where students come from high schools all over the state to check out our program and decide if they want to study art at USM,” Rigsby said.

The Art and Design School’s open house allowed students to interact with faculty and staff as well as current students. The faculty wanted to spark interest in art and design by introducing different forms of art and design to current high school students. Students came from all over the state for the open house. High school students from D’Iberville High School, Oak Grove High School and Jones County visited the design school.

They had the opportunity to speak with faculty and current students over a lunch provided by the program. Mallorie Searborough, a Junior at D’Iberville High School expressed her enjoyment with the open house and interest in the different areas.

“I am really enjoying today a lot. I like the print making the best, it was really fun. I wanted to learn more about art and what they do here at the school.”