2012 Spring Semester
In spring semester 2012, UC merced instructors, Vanesha Pravin and Tonya Lopez-Craig, collaborated on a project with their classes Writing 125: Poetry in Creative Writing and Art 23 Multi-Media. Vanesha had been part of some projects involving ekphrasis poetry in the past. Tonya had always welcomed the process of shared and cooperative inspiration in her classes and in her own art. From experience they both saw the learning potential for their students. In the first collaboration, student artwork and poetry were created based on a chain reaction: Initially the Art 23 student artists’ block prints served as triggers for poetic lines created by students in the Writing 125. Once the lines were generated, the student poets continued to respond to the prints to develop their poems, while the artists used those early poetic lines to develop mixed media projects. A poetry reading was held for the student poets to present their poems based on the collaboration. Here there were projected images of the art prints while the students read their poetry. The two class pairing strengthened both the poem and the visual art. The student response overall was quite positive. The process really pushed the students to work creatively outside of their comfort zones and consider new ideas and imagery that they may not have before.
Spring Semester 2013
As soon as they finished the last exhibit, Pravin and Lopez started discussing the next incarnation of the project. Both saw that it was worthy of further exploration and envisioned creating a sort of three-way collaboration of art, poetry, and music. They knew that there were endless possibilities when one imagined that wonderful intersection of disciplines and all of the possible interactions between poetry, music, and visual art. This could create an important and enriching learning experience for the students involved.
In Spring 2013, the instructors proposed to bring in music to the next collaboration. The addition of the music based class taught by Henrik Hansen would be perfect to further the potential. Besides strongly encouraging experimentation, adding the third musical component would enhance this collaborative process and further broaden perspectives on the nature of art.