Art Student Miranda Cole adapting to her New Normal
By Melanee Terry
With classes moving to online learning, students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle are adapting to a new lifestyle, especially Fine Art students like sophomore Miranda Cole. All students at the university are facing challenges with their academics, but Art students are faced with a unique situation. Since Fine Arts is such a hands-on and physical major, Miranda and her classmates are going to have to be creative as they finish the semester digitally.
As the Fine Arts program at UMPI is small and close-knit, students were naturally hit with emotion after hearing about the move to online learning. Miranda has been a part of the Art Club on campus since her freshman year. On top of the yearly Art Club trip being cancelled, the senior Art students will not be able to have on-campus senior art shows, which take place before they graduate from the program.
“I was very emotional that some of my senior friends within my major would not be able to have a graduation ceremony or have their senior art show, which they had been working so hard on. Though it will be compensated somehow on an online platform, it’s still heart-wrenching,” Miranda said. “These people that I’ve grown close to had to leave so abruptly and it is uncertain that we can reconnect in the future.”
While art has become a big part of her life, Miranda’s time in the Pullen Art studio will be postponed. But her education will not stop as she continues to finish her classes this semester.
“Art to me is something therapeutic yet invigorating. It seems the more I learn about this field of work, the more passionate I get to create and work with other artists,” Miranda said.
Many art classes on campus are taught best on-sight, with hands-on exposure for the students. Miranda enjoys the class critiques for art projects, which are critical to the learning experience as she improves her work as an art student. Getting both positive and negative feedback from fellow classmates is another opportunity for students to better their work.
“I am taking three studio art classes, and having this major transition makes things more difficult to give and receive feedback on an individual’s work, which is essential for the development of an emerging artist. The live criticism from the instructor and peers is what is mainly taken away, to an extent. The professors have been very flexible and understanding regarding the work,” Miranda said.
Miranda is not an outgoing or loud individual, but she has recently missed social interaction with classmates and friends on campus.
“I am normally a more introverted person, but there are my extroverted needs that are hurting a bit. I did not realize how much I craved social interaction until it was taken away so abruptly,” she said.
Miranda has focused on spending time with her dog and has recently been reconnecting with friends during her spare time. She has made the goal to post more of her own artwork on online platforms to create some self exposure.
While Miranda and other Art students on campus are navigating the difficulties of being digital artists, they continue to have the support of UMPI art professors. Miranda is hopeful for what the future holds and she is grateful for her safety and health during such a tough time.
“I think big things that I will take away from this–and I think a lot of people will as well–is that we have to be considerate of each other as a human race when big worldwide things like this happen,” Miranda said. “Everyone has their own opinions about what is going on currently, but at the end of the day, we should try and keep each other safe from anything that could result from this.”