Art show de­buts at JBU

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Janelle Jessen Staff Writer [email protected]

An art in­stal­la­tion fea­tur­ing the work of artist Eve Nam Oh and about a dozen lo­cal Amer­i­can Her­itage Girls de­buted at John Brown Univer­sity on Tues­day evening.

The ex­hibit, ti­tled “Shar­ing Our Time,” will be open through Feb. 26 in the Windgate Vis­ual Arts East lobby.

Nam Oh is one of six stu­dents in the first co­hort of JBU’s Mas­ter of Fine Arts in Col­lab­o­ra­tive De­sign pro­gram, which be­gan last fall, ac­cord­ing to pro­gram di­rec­tor Todd Goehner. Upon en­ter­ing the pro­gram, Nam Oh was awarded the dis­tin­guished artist award and re­ceived an op­por­tu­nity to do a gallery show, he said.

For her pro­ject, she worked with the Amer­i­can Her­itage Girls, teach­ing them var­i­ous art tech­niques and en­cour­ag­ing their cre­ativ­ity. She met with her stu­dents for two to three hours a week last fall. The girls, who ranged in age from first- through eighth-grade, learned to use medi­ums such as oil pas­tels, wa­ter­col­ors and acrylics.

The girls’ work is on dis­play along­side Nam Oh’s per­sonal paint­ings and sculp­ture. Pho­tos and a video of Nam Oh and the girls work­ing to­gether are also fea­tured in the in­stal­la­tion.

“Eve did a fan­tas­tic job,” Goehner said. “She had her work in the show as well and she is very tal­ented.”

A crowd of about 200 peo­ple, in­clud­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers who are friends and fam­ily of the young stu­dents whose art­work is fea­tured, at­tended the open­ing, Goehner said.

“Her show turned out great,” Goehner said. “It was a big suc­cess.”

Nam Oh re­ceived her un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in sculp­ture at Ewha Women’s Univer­sity in South Korea, ac­cord­ing to her artist state­ment. She stud­ied and mas­tered wooden and stone carv­ing, ter­ra­cotta, weld­ing, and acrylic and wa­ter­color paint­ing, it states.

Af­ter she mar­ried, Nam Oh moved to the United States and re­fo­cused on wa­ter­color paint­ing, win­ning nu­mer­ous awards for her work. She also crafts hand-sewn leather goods and makes sil­ver and gem­stone jew­elry.

Nam Oh said that when she was grow­ing up, education in South Korea was in a pre-fixed for­mat in ev­ery as­pect.

“South Korea’s education was based on the pre­sump­tion that ‘ev­ery ques­tion has to be an­swered in one way with one right an­swer,’” she wrote in her artist state­ment. The mind­set was deeply in­grained in the cul­ture and lim­ited the cre­ative abil­i­ties of chil­dren, she said.

“The ed­u­ca­tional process that I went through to be­come a pro­fes­sional artist was very chal­leng­ing,” she wrote. “The process it­self was very in­ten­sive and ef­fec­tive in de­vel­op­ing re­spect, but there was not a sys­tem that en­cour­aged artis­tic cre­ativ­ity.”

She took a very dif­fer­ent ap­proach while work­ing with the Amer­i­can Her­itage stu­dents. In­stead of fo­cus­ing on ad­vanced art tech­niques, she ex­posed them to a wide va­ri­ety of art ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques, en­cour­ag­ing them to fol­low their own cre­ativ­ity.

“I don’t want to put them in a cage or a box,” she said.

Through­out the pro­ject, Nam Oh said she learned more than she taught.

“We re­ally en­joyed our time to­gether,” she said.

Colleen Hu­bert said her two daugh­ters — Brin­ley, al­most 11, and Ad­di­son, 9 — had never been to an art show and didn’t know what to ex­pect. They were amazed to see their art­work in frames on the wall.

“They were like ‘Ah, that’s mine! I did that!’” she said.

Hu­bert said that Brin­ley and Ad­di­son re­ally en­joyed go­ing to art class each week. They got do try a wide va­ri­ety of projects. The girls are homeschool­ed and have been learn­ing about art through a se­ries of videos. Nam Oh’s pro­gram gave them a chance to prac­tice the tech­niques they have been learn­ing in their homeschool art cur­ricu­lum. The girls es­pe­cially liked that Hu­bert gave them cre­ative free­dom, she said.

JBU’s mas­ter of fine arts in col­lab­o­ra­tive de­sign is a three-year pro­gram that fo­cuses on de­sign think­ing, and cul­ti­vat­ing cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tive prob­lem solv­ing, Goehner said. The goal is to teach stu­dents to tackle com­plex prob­lems and solve them with a cre­ative mind­set. Some of the prob­lems stu­dents ex­plore are vis­ual, but oth­ers are sys­tem or com­mu­ni­ca­tion based, or so­cial cause based, he said.

The first co­hort of stu­dents comes from a di­verse set of back­grounds, rep­re­sent­ing fields that range from bi­ol­ogy to min­istry.

The pro­gram is JBU’s first ter­mi­nal de­gree, mean­ing it will qual­ify grad­u­ates to teach at the col­lege level, Goehner said. The de­gree is of­fered on a flex­i­ble ba­sis de­signed for work­ing pro­fes­sion­als and stu­dents can at­tend classes re­motely through live stream­ing video, he said.

Clay­ton Lyon/Spe­cial to the Siloam Sun­day

Eve Nam Oh worked with Amer­i­can Her­itage Girls, teach­ing them artis­tic tech­niques, last fall. Her col­lab­o­ra­tive art in­stal­la­tion is on dis­play at John Brown Univer­sity this month.

Lindy Martin/Spe­cial to the Siloam Sun­day

Steve Snediker, vis­ual arts pro­fes­sor, looked at the art­work in Eve Nam Oh’s art in­stal­la­tion with one of the Amer­i­can Her­itage Girls.

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