Students display creativity in the arts and sciences

In Self-Publishing, Spring 010 on January 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm

GAINESVILLE – Sunflower seeds. Yeah, you could eat them. Or, you could write with them. Anika Khan, 23, a University of Florida graphic design senior proved this in her most recent presentation. She displayed it at the second annual Creativity of the Arts & Sciences Event (CASE) held at the UF Cultural Plaza on Sunday.

“A good idea is a good idea, no matter what field it’s in,” Khan said.

The amount of paper used in samples before a piece is printed, let alone during reproduction, is much more than you might think, she said.

In response to this problem, she created a sofa-sized sidewalk message using only sunflower seeds. It promoted an online magazine featuring work from UF and local artists and read “Artifex is coming.”

The method is not perfect for permanent signage but works great for events or temporary promotions. Squirrels and the weather take care of the cleanup in a 100 per cent biodegradable fashion within about a week.

Other participants were undergraduate students from various institutions including Furman University in Greenville, S.C., Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and UF, with majors ranging from biochemistry to dance.
On the science side, Greg Olsen, 20, a chemistry sophomore from Furman presented his research aimed at helping people with diabetes.

Often they must refrigerate supplies used to test blood sugar. Olsen is looking for a chemical that would be less sensitive to changes in temperature yet still be cost-effective. This is a big deal when you consider the benefits of not having to lug around a cooler during travel.

Kelly Donovan, communications specialist for the Florida Museum of Natural History, said the newness of the ideas is what excites her about the projects.

“It’s kind of a way to see the future before the future happens,” Donovan said.

But CASE isn’t only about content. The event also helps students with presentation skills essential for researchers and artists who often rely on outside funding, Donovan said.

Posters and art displays lined the galleries of UF’s art and natural history museums and performing arts center. A cozy setting for about 15 was created on the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts stage for dance and music pieces.

Most science majors presented research they had been working on for one or more semesters of intensive lab work. Art students detailed their creative processes after their performances and presentations.

J.T. Fridsma, 21, a third-year engineering turned graphic design student, created four poster designs before settling on one he felt represented his subject: Paynes Prairie.

An antiqued, tan background represented the expanse of the prairie while a low-lying graphic represented its grassy horizon. In stark contrast, other options consisted of intensely layered, modern graphics, bright oranges and an antiqued book cover.

Fridsma loves the graphic design program but sometimes has tunnel vision when it comes to his major and studio, he said. The event allowed him to interact with other students in fields such as printmaking and painting and enjoy their work.

Having peer-reviewed judging and combining art and science displays also helps provide a forum for exchanging ideas and enjoying diversity.

John Kaup, coordinator of science education for Furman University, said the amount of participation generated at CASE, with students consistently hosting two to three people at their presentations, is something he plans to replicate in Furman’s future events.

UF’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science for Life Program, the UF National Science Foundation Chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates, the UF College of Fine Arts, Morehouse College, Furman University, the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Harn Museum all hosted the event, which organizers plan to continue annually.


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