Grant supports digital design at Wesleyan

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On April 9, members of the campus community gathered at Downey House to discuss how digital design may evolve at Wesleyan in the near future. Left, Nicole Stanton, dean of the Arts and Humanities Division and associate professor of dance, answered questions from the audience. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

With the support of a new grant of $ 500,000, Wesleyan will be able to expand its digital design studio and more fully integrate technology into the University’s arts program.

The Sherman Fairchild Foundation awarded the grant to Wesleyan in March. It will be applied over four years.

“We are very grateful for this award,” said Nicole Stanton, dean of the Arts and Humanities Division and associate professor of dance. “The grant will allow Wesleyan to more fully integrate technology into our arts program, support the innovative work of our faculty and students, and expand interdisciplinary opportunities in the arts and with other disciplines.”

The funds will specifically support the creation of a complete new Digital Design Commons (DDC), which will include renovations to the current Digital Design Studio located in the Davison Art Center. The studio has already become a gathering space for professors and students working in the fields of photography, architecture, graphics, set design, typography, animation and various other media. The new commons will include space for studio photography, art documentation, video and motion capture (i.e. green projection), multimedia projection and 3D scanning. Additionally, Wesleyan will be able to create a large multidisciplinary space to use for teaching and projects that foster greater collaboration among students.

The grant will also support the expansion of the arts curriculum to include new interdisciplinary arts courses that explore composition and improvisation through the arts. These courses will provide students with individual and collaborative opportunities to engage in creative practices from a range of disciplinary lenses.

As expanded curriculum and programming needs require additional teaching and technical support, a practicing professor will be appointed to assist in the day-to-day operation of DDC and to support teaching and research in design and art. In addition, the DDC may employ technical tutors, part-time work-study students who will provide peer tutoring to support art classes and ensure increased monitoring of the DDC’s larger spaces. Modeled on successful tutoring programs in writing, math, and data analysis, technical tutors will be technically competent students with previous experience in design, arts, and performance classes.

This spring, a new digital design committee, chaired by Andy Curran, professor of humanities William Armstrong and professor of French, will make concrete recommendations to academic affairs and facilities regarding possible new programming and classrooms in the ” Alsop annex ”, a building that is currently occupied by the Davison Art Center. If the committee’s plans are approved by the board of directors, construction of the project will begin thereafter.


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