By Jenee Gregor
The students that braved the summer adding credits to their academic transcripts in Art 112 also added some beauty to LakeShore Apartments in Ypsilanti. The class lead by Jill Jepsen, and was assigned to practice their skills in the Basic Design class to transform weather beaten and rusty fire hydrants into testaments of Ypsilanti Heritage.
The class spent weeks in the classroom learning and preparing for taking their art into the community with this project.
“Art adds beauty to a community and welcomes people,” said Jepsen, the instructor of Art 112. Art and beauty makes a community proud and make the people want to maintain and take care of the space, mentioned Jepsen.
Damien Lamberti, a Graphic Design student, chose the design and history of the underground railroad. “My piece is Harriet Tubman leading children up north, as a design piece and not fine art,” said Lamberti. Jepsen wanted to add more art around the city, and got the project approved by the city, Lamberti said.
Kimmie Longsworth, an illustration major, chose to do a design showcasing the “bizarre” Ypsilanti historical facts. For instance, when the United States adopted standard time, Ypsilanti refused to acknowledge this and their clocks were off 23 minutes for close to 30 years.
Longsworth also incorporated the past practice when there was a fear of the Atom Bomb, dog tags with the blood type of the individual were passed out incase of emergency. She also mentioned that Ypsilanti’s first Halloween was celebrated with cabbage.
“Design and art can be used to create feeling, and invoke conversation,” said Longsworth.
Christy King, a ceramics major chose to a dalmatian and paw print design. As she was working there was someone who stopped and asked her what they were doing there.
“The point is to have something pleasing to look at,” King said. She mentioned the hours she had spent brushing off the rust to be able to paint the hydrant. King said this project is about refinishing as much as art, making things look better.
Each student had their own idea of what they wanted to share with the residents and visitors of this complex, and spent hours in the intense July heat to make those visions visible for the community.
Jepsen hopes to continue with these projects around the city and possibly more in the Lakeshore apartment complex. All of which will combine in-classroom learning with real world experience, as well as allowing the art of the students to be visible in the community.