About the Symposium
Once again I am humbled and amazed at what creative minds can do under the most challenging of times. The B.A. Art and Art History, Theory and Criticism Symposium is on its way to be becoming a regular and widely accessible virtual event that all of us eagerly anticipate. While we long to gather together in person and share the fruits of these students’ research, the virtual symposium is its own unique celebration that brings these students’ achievements to a an even larger audience beyond our university. I am so proud to have worked with some of these students and to have watched them all as they have made their academic journeys. What a joy to hear their voices as they share their sensitive and insightful reflections!
This Fall, 2020 B.A. students began their final semester at MSU Denver unsure of how a mostly remote senior experience would work. Under the compassionate guidance of Professor Jade Hoyer, this group has found ways to collaborate and give one another supportive peer review and to also complete and document new bodies of work. Some came to campus and followed a myriad of precautions to finish and photograph their work in the gallery. Art Historians read each other’s drafts and provided late-night support over email, texts and chats. No doubt, roommates and family members heard these students recording presentations wherever a quiet corner of the home could be found. Despite our relative isolation in the midst of the pandemic, none of these students was truly alone and I want to recognize all of those who have supported them.
As I listen to the symposium presentations, I am moved by the way in which these artists and scholars are responding to the challenges of our times, even when they do so by interpreting the artworks of the past. Students graduating in the midst of a pandemic find solace in their creative practice and share their anxieties and concern about the social issues of our times. Whether their concerns be for conservation and wildlife, dismantling gender inequities, commenting on the polarizing state of the civil discourse, or recognizing their cultural heritage as a source of strength, our Art and Art History, Theory and Criticism majors are deeply engaged in their worlds, and I am encouraged by seeing their commitment.
Today I attended our virtual commencement ceremonies online, and I long to give these graduates their congratulatory handshake as they march across the stage. Yet, they are even more ready than most of us to face the many challenges that await them as they graduate and enter the world to address the joys and sorrows that will surely come their way. As you visit and engage the Fall 2020 B.A. Symposium, I hope you are as inspired by these students as I am.
Dr. Deanne Pytlinski
Chair, Department of Art