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Lafayette’s studio art program, with its intertwining motifs of collaboration and community, has gained the national spotlight.

The New York Times (Sunday, Jan. 19) calls Lafayette’s collaboration with Phillipsburg (N.J.) High School, in which nine Phillipsburg art students take classes at the Williams Visual Arts Building, one of the more successful programs in New Jersey’s push to make senior year more productive, stimulating, and challenging by allowing high school students to “step into the real world” of internships, work, or college courses.

The Christian Science Monitor (Friday, Jan. 17) also features the art program prominently in a piece on the art world’s shift toward greater collaboration.

Lindsey Tibbott is one of three New Jersey high school seniors the Times follows in a story called “How Schools Are Trying to Avoid the ‘Senior Slide.'”

Miss Tibbott, a 17-year old senior from Pohatcong . . . leaves Phillipsburg High School during the last period on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and drives to downtown Easton to attend class at Lafayette at no cost. . . .

“The program is amazing,” she said. “The people we meet and what we get to do is so much different than a high school program. We are talking to the artists, which is such a good experience. Before this, I had no idea what art school would be like.”

“Arthur Rothkopf, the president of Lafayette, sees the arrangement as a fair trade,” the story says. “After all, reasons Mr. Rothkopf, some students may decide to attend Lafayette. In addition, the program – which includes students from Pennsylvania and New Jersey – promotes good relations between the college and the community.”

More artists are working collaboratively, particularly young artists, says the Monitor feature, called “Team Works:” “The stereotype of a lone artist struggling in a garret is being replaced by a team ethos.”

It’s already been replaced in the Williams Visual Arts Building.

“At Lafayette College, Professor [Ed] Kerns designed the studio art curriculum around collaborating with professionals, including such visiting art stars as Frank Stella, Elizabeth Murray, and Faith Ringgold. Art majors as well as students from local schools and city residents participate,” the story says.

“‘The community aspect is terrific,’ Kerns says. Participants learn ‘art is an experiential moment’ – not the exclusive purview of the elite.”

The story includes images of digital art created by Kerns and Lafayette senior Janice Truszkowski, a Marquis Scholar and art major from Phillipsburg.

The Jan. 19 Sunday Times also features New York photographer Bill Hayward ’65 and Ross Gay ’96.

Hayward pioneered the medium of portraiture two years ago with his book, Bad Behavior, in which he invited his subjects – artists of various kinds – to transform their backdrop in any way they wished. In “An Invitation to Pose for Your Supper,” the Times writes about a recent dinner party Hayward gave in which he did just that. Gay was among the invitees.

An accomplished artist and poet who graduated with a double major in English and Art, Gay served last year as Dean of Studies Humanities Fellow at Lafayette, teaching art courses. This year he is teaching a course in English. He also led a workshop on poetry and painting for high-school students participating in art classes at the Williams Visual Arts Building.

“Ross Gay, a poet who also teaches at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., posed first, and he looked very shy as he stood up in his baggy jeans. ‘My New York is Jersey City,’ read the backdrop he had painted, a reference to the town in which Mr. Gay coaches high school basketball.”

Categorized in: Academic News