From your votes, here’s a table of feedback on our 12 Activities this summer. I’ve listed them in the order we did them, and then given the number of UpVotes, the number of DownVotes, and then the “Total” (+ – -)
Love & Hate
As you can see, one person’s most favorite activity was another person’s least favorite activity. Even the most most favorite activity still got 5 downvotes. Even the least least favorite activity still got 2 upvotes.
Putting all your votes together (upvotes minus downvotes) the class’ overalls are:
+4: Plaster Casting
+4: Your Turn
-5: Rapid Prototype
And unfortunately, as my scheduling genius would have it, your 3 least favorites were 3 weeks in a row!
The Kickstarter Conundrum
If your votes are to have any real meaning, I kind of have to do something with them. So yes, Painting & Instagram will definitely be back – that part’s easy!
The not-so-easy part is that something should also be out. And that bright red -7 is pointing straight at Kickstarter.
I think one of the many reasons you guys didn’t like the Kickstarter project is that it felt fake. You felt like late-nite TV hawkers selling something bogus. I’m not sure why it came out that way, but that was far from my intention.
I thought the Rapid Prototype project would be cool because it’d be a chance to play with something more related to your major or other interests. Instead of go do painting or photography, it could be think up some simple but useful thing related to Aerospace Engineering or Fashion Merchandising.
Freedom & Democracy
And following RP, I thought Kickstarter would be a nice chance to both think about Arts Funding in the 21st century and also your personal opportunities for funding any sort of creative project.
Money & Power
If you think about art through human history, it’s sort of always been guided by the hand of money and power. In the 16th century it was the Medici family. Here in the 21st century it’s Americans like Eli Broad & Europeans like Charles Saatchi. What they find interesting and valuable comes to be interesting and valuable to our culture. What they choose to overlook often comes to be overlooked by our culture.
Charles Saatchi happens to like spending huge sums of money on sharks in formaldehyde tanks. He’s not so interested in riding a real bicycle through a virtual city. Because of those tastes on the part of people like Saatchi, Damien Hirst is today a global brand, while Jeffrey Shaw‘s name is found only in “Computer Art” books. There’s a whole alternate late-20th-century Art History that wasn’t really written because of the tastes of money and power.
The Politics of Art
Another way we fund art is through nations and budgets for things like the American National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) The politics and nuances of who and what does and doesn’t get funded by the NEA, and whether America even wants to have an NEA at all, are complex, nuanced, long running, and unfortunately, highly politicized. I shouldn’t even start on all that here, but suffice to say, when politicians and political appointees are choosing what art gets funded, it can get pretty messy.
Another Way of Funding Art
Which brings us back to Kickstarter and why your very least favorite activity of all feels so important to me. With a platform like Kickstarter you don’t need elite access to money and power, you just need to build a small network of people who care about your ideas.
Kickstarter projects are funded by family, friends, people who read your blog, people on your mailing list, and Kickstarter website surfers.
With drones so crazy hot ATM, an Aerospace Engineer like Ricki could put together a pitch for a cool new low-cost drone project. Or if you think about our Singer & Dancer: Juston & Justin: Juston could pitch for funds to produce a new record, Justin for a new performance. And not just “art,” but anything creative. We have a number of Engineers in the class who could pitch all sorts of things that might be interesting.
The Philosophy Duo we looked at raised $500 to produce their songs. Kristen Bell & Rob Thomas raised $5,000,000 to make their movie. You guys could easily imagine small things and make them real. It’d be a little weird to call up your aunt or uncle and say, hi, I want to make some paintings, can you give me a hundred bucks? But if you sent them off to a nice, shiny site like Kickstarter where they can see how serious, passionate, and professional you are, I think they’d be thrilled to invest $100 in this cool project by their favorite nephew or niece.
Do Votes Matter?
So I’m kind of stuck. I truly do want your votes to mean something. Which suggests that Kickstarter should be out. (or substantively modified) But I also think it’s so important both as an understanding of the way we as a people fund Arts, and also as a real possibility to fund your own creative ideas, be they small, medium, or large.
Your 2nd least favorite activity was Rapid Prototype. This also surprised me since I thought it’d be a chance to do something related to your major or other personal passion. I actually like the RP project a lot. I’ll spare you the passionate plea why I like it for now, and just say that while I do like it, it’d be a less bitter pill for me to let this one go.
Meanwhile, while I’ve been talking a lot about having your websites be ePortfolios and not only “turn-in-my-homework” sites, I haven’t really given you the opportunity to make that happen. I just talk a lot and hope you’ll do it on your own.
One thought is to let go of the RP Activity and replace it with a “Real ePortfolio” activity where you focus on making your website about your Journalism or Nursing or Marine Biology or other professional pursuit. Or about Cars or Cosplay or other personal passion.
We could rename the Wk 1 Activity that’s currently called “ePortfolio” to “Web Design.” That’s more accurate anyway, since Wk 1 is really more like make an account and get yourself on the web nowwww! And then have (real) ePortfolio be about making a site that truly presents what you’re achieved. For a senior looking to enter the world that might be a bit different that for a freshman looking to have fun in college, but for both it could be a place to document your achievements for presentation to the HR Directors of the world, be that next month or in 4 years.
Tell Me Again?
Strictly by the numbers, Kickstarter should go. Or Kickstarter and Rapid Prototype. I’d love to hear if my argument above does or doesn’t carry any weight with you. What do you think about keeping Kickstarter (as is or as a redesigned Activity) and instead letting go of Rapid Prototype and replacing it with You-specific ePortfolio Design?
You’re welcome to leave a comment below if you’d like to share your thoughts.
Here’s a video I sometimes play in the F2F class. The singer has so much charisma & power it’s hard to believe that he’s been dead for just a little longer than almost everyone in Art110 has been alive. Time really does fly.
So many of you did such wonderful work in so many different ways this summer that I almost hate to say who happened to ring up the most points. Jessica, to name just one of you, almost certainly wins the prize for the most creative reinterpretation of the weekly activity briefs. In an art class or really, at a university, Jessica’s kind of creativity should be celebrated. I think it’s why we’re here. Not just to be “creative” in The Arts, but to be “creative” in Business, Engineering, and whatever your life passion is.
Maybe you’re the accountant who creatively rearranges a spreadsheet to reveal something important about your business that no one else has ever realized. Maybe you’re the programmer who doesn’t know that everyone knows that what you’re trying to do can’t be done. So your creative ignorance leads to innovation in programming. Honestly, if the university isn’t about creativity, I don’t know why it’s here.
Nonetheless, I have to confess, that when you have the task of handing out points to a big group of students as fairly and equally as you can, you get just a little bit nervous about how many points is fair for Jessica’s paradigmatic creativity. In the long run, I’m certain that Jessica, and all of you, will be well-served by being true to your deepest self.
Just Tell Us!
Competition and rankings can certainly be critiqued. Still, without stopwatches & scoreboards, we’d never know just how extraordinary the achievements of people like Serena Williams or Michael Phelps are. And if you want to talk about points in Summer Art110, I have just two words for you: Albert Le.
As you know, we had 1,008 points possible this summer, with 900 needed for an “A”. Albert finished Art110 with 1,128 points for a “perfect” 112%! Here he is in the Art110 Hall of Fame!
Besides Albert’s name sparkling there, 4 other interesting things you’ll find there are his connections. Albert’s brought one home for the poor, failing male gender! He’s the first male to take the top spot since Patrick Ho & Tatsuya Ando back in Fall 2011. Yes, the women have been that dominant!
He’s also the 2nd “Le” in the HOF, joining Lee Le back in Fall 2007. Lee went on to graduate (double major) and today she does television reporting for a Vietnamese station here in Los Angeles. Albert’s the 2nd person from the Management major in the HOF, joining Nikki Bark from Spring ’06. And finally, in addition to saving his gender, Albert also pulled one out for those poor, lame duck seniors. Art110 has had 19 Freshmen as #1, 7 sophomores & 4 juniors, but before Albert, Paul Morales from Spring ’06 was the only other senior.
The Le clan, Seniors, Management Majors, and the Male Gender all owe you one Albert!
But Wait, There’s More!
Albert’s work this summer was, honestly, extraordinary. Week after week, he brought depth, seriousness, and even fun to his work. But he wasn’t alone. 3 other of you joined the “Better-than-perfect” club: Jenn: 1081, Sadie: 1069 & Heather: 1028.
Here’s the Top 10 list for Summer ’14:
Besides your valuable Upvotes & Downvotes for our 12 Activities, you also answered the question, What was the Best & Worst of Art110 for you?
Almost the only thing you listed under “worst,” and listed by almost every single one of you, was the Online Discussion Groups. Fortunately, we already fixed that last week! 🙂
The #1 thing you liked was the Activities as a whole. You also liked Blogging, having a Website No Book, Artist OTW, Art Talks, and taking a class where you could travel anywhere and have the class comes to you.
Only one of you actually thought the $18 was a waste of your money. Almost all of you were happy to have a website and your own URL, even if your intentions for future use varied a lot. Many of you said that you were happy to spend $18 for a domain name and not buy a textbook. You guys definitely liked not buying a textbook!
And now it’s time to say goodbye. I’ll be hanging out in the School of Art, Art Gallery Courtyard every Thursday this year from 11 – 12:15. If you’re on campus, please feel free to drop by anytime and say Hi! Of course you know my URL & email. But given the busyness of life, for most of you, this really is goodbye.
It’s been a privilege, a pleasure, and an honor to spend a small piece of your college experience with you and to see what you all can do. To see the power of someone like Albert, the creativity of someone like Jessica, the generous community building of someone like Jenn, the innovation of someone like Sadie. (I’ll resist the temptation to go on about every single one of you! 😛
I’ve never had so many seniors in this class before! It’s so awesome to see someone like Julia graduate and already have a great job to start her career with. And yes, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and super-seniors too, who get to come back and explore college for a while longer.
I hope you find a way to keep art & creativity in your life. I hope we’ve thought about a few possibilities for the 21st century this summer.
We got to go to the beach a couple of times – not just The Beach with buildings, but the beach with sand and water – which I thought was pretty cool, but I’ve since learned that a number of you actually hate the beach! 😛
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
— T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding
I hope your journey in Art110 this summer has helped you know your place a little better. Thanks for sharing it with me.
For those of you returning: have a great time in college. For those of you graduating: have a great career. And for all you: have a great life!