Field study and foreign travel are hallmarks of May Term at Mary Baldwin University, and added to the mix a little closer to campus this year are two classes that highlight the talents and dedication of a guest lecturer and one of the college’s artists-in-residence.
Aurora Robson, Mary Baldwin’s 2012–13 Doenges Artist/Scholar, will teach Sculpture and Intercepting the Waste Stream, an introductory course with a primary focus of transforming trash into three-dimensional works of art.
“I am excited to be taking this class with Aurora,” said Shelley Rubiani ’14. ” I really enjoyed going to Lewis Creek and cleaning up the trash found in the stream; I was amazed at how much we found. It has definitely been a learning experience so far.”
In conjunction with the class, the college is hosting three film screenings on campus that are open to the public. The final film, Bag It, will be shown at 7 p.m. May 7 in Francis Auditorium. At the end of the term, students will present their work — created from materials they’ve collected that were originally intended for the landfill — from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 13 at the Staunton-Augusta Art Center downtown.
Also returning to campus is Artist-in-Residence Claudia Bernardi, who is known for her efforts to bring peace through art in troubled parts of the world, notably by creating colorful community-building murals. Last year, Bernardi guided work on a mural in the Basic City neighborhood of Waynesboro, and, this year, her class, Threads of History, will explore the stories of students from the former Booker T. Washington High School in Staunton and create a mural based on those oral histories.
The first week of Bernardi’s interdisciplinary course brings in the expertise of Associate Professor of History Amy Tillerson. She will moderate a round table discussion with Booker T. Washington alumni and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Film Allan Moyé, will capture the oral histories on film. Working with Bernardi since 2007, Moyé recorded testimony in El Salvador from survivors of atrocities committed against civilians during a brutal civil war. His work persuaded judges from an international criminal court to recommend the perpetrators stand trial and economic assistance be provided to family members of the victims.
The project will shift from May 6–15 as students and other community participants create both a traveling mural and small, permanent painting at Booker T. Washington based on the narratives provided by alumni. Bernardi’s sister, Patrizia Bernardi, and three teachers from Bernardi’s School of Art and Open Studio in Perquin, El Salvador, will also work with students during the session.