Thursday, May 22, 2014

Goodbye Boundary- Savannah Art Informer

Goodbye Boundary: Sculpture Forum fights to preserve sculpture at SCAD

by Lauren Flotte, SAI Contributor

Walking up the stairs to Moon River Brewing Company’s unfinished second floor space, used for art exhibitions, events, and as a spooky stop on local ghost tours, the mood felt undeniably heavy. This past Friday evening it had nothing to do with Savannah’s historic ghouls.
The mood on the second floor was emanating from the opening of Goodbye Boundary, an exhibition of sculptural works by current and graduating students, along with alumni and faculty. The exhibition, hosted by Sculpture Forum (a SCAD student club) showcased the diversity of work, both in medium and concept, that has come out of SCAD’s Boundary Hall – the home of the Savannah campus’ sculpture minor program. The somber atmosphere in the room stood as a reminder that this show, unlike most, was not entirely a celebration of the accomplishments of the many talented artists exhibited that evening, but also a vigil for a program and space.

SCAD's Boundary Hall
SCAD’s Boundary Hall

This past week, SCAD announced that it was retiring the sculpture minor on the Savannah campus and that it would not be renewing its lease on Boundary Hall. SCAD did not provide a clear reason for the retiring of the minor, although SCAD’s Director of University Communications, Ally Hughes, offered this information: “SCAD regularly evaluates its many advanced learning resources that support excellence in art and design. As a result of the university’s continued assessment of current 3D design facilities, it has been determined that beginning in the 2014 Fall Quarter, the SCAD Savannah courses offered in Boundary Hall will be moved to other buildings.”
These changes to the SCAD Savannah campus have left the students who felt enriched by their sculpture minor and found themselves deeply connected to Boundary Hall upset. Co-President of Sculpture Forum, Kristen Crouch said, “After we found out they were getting rid on the minor, we heard that it had been in the works for a couple of years. Which is really sad to me because I have worked in Boundary and it has become my home. The people there are my best friends.”
SCAD Sculpture Forum Co-Presidents Sami Lee Woolhiser (left) and Kristen Crouch
SCAD Sculpture Forum Co-Presidents Sami Lee Woolhiser (left) and Kristen Crouch
 Her fellow Co-President, Sami Lee Woolhiser, chimed in to add, “Boundary really has been a place where we’ve all been able to find a home and learn and take away so much from our time at SCAD. The sculpture department at the Savannah campus draws from many different majors like industrial design, furniture, photography, animation, and painting. It really brings a huge collective [of people] and a huge variety of backgrounds together and that’s really what’s so great about Boundary and the sculpture department.”
The works on display truly reflected the diversity of the department. The pieces ranged from figurative works to abstract and conceptual pieces, all in a variety of mediums, from found objects to more traditional media like wood and metal. In each piece was a glimpse of a different artistic background. Narrative works next to conceptual musings on space, adjacent to figurative pieces ranging from the dark to the comical; the works were clearly not part of a unified movement, but they were linked through a love of exploration. The showcase clearly revealed the appeal of the three dimensional medium to a mixed group of artists.

"A Physical Display of the Transition of Energy in One Afternoon" by Kristen Crouch
“A Physical Display of the Transition of Energy in One Afternoon” by Kristen Crouch

Crouch, who on the night of the opening seemed both emotional about the circumstances of the exhibition and resolutely clear-minded on her position, has organized an online petition against the elimination of the sculpture minor as well as the relinquishing of the minor’s primary facilities. Through the petition, Crouch hopes to spread the word of the university’s actions to current and future students, inspire students and alumni to make their voices heard, and encourage the administration to consult the student body in the future before making decisions that affect them.
“I’m graduating so I’m not doing this for me, because I’m done. I’m doing this for the future students who aren’t going to be able to find the kind of refuge that we have found,” Crouch said.

"Organic Geometry" by Natalie Cranor
“Organic Geometry” by Natalie Cranor

While Crouch and Woolhiser have realized that saving the sculpture facilities is not possible, they both were concerned more generally about what the loss of the sculpture minor means for SCAD and future students.
“I know the building is gone but that doesn’t justify the elimination of the sculpture minor,” Crouch said. “You cannot belittle the fine arts departments while continuing to call yourself an arts school,” she added.
Woolhiser pointed out that she saw irony in the fact that some of the fine arts alumni SCAD promotes the most are now working in sculpture or use sculpture heavily in their work. “I think they need to realize what is being successful in the fine arts world,” she said.
Ally Hughes said, “SCAD remains committed to sculpture as an academic discipline, with the sculpture major and minor continuing to be offered at SCAD Atlanta. SCAD Atlanta’s facilities, located adjacent to the High Museum of Art, position the sculpture program for increased opportunity, augmenting the university’s ability to offer students relevant and focused education and career preparation.”

"Untitled" by Emily Pun
“Untitled” by Emily Pun

SCAD Savannah will continue to offer 3D design classes at Anderson Hall, where, “SCAD will equip classroom space to support those courses.” Further, Hughes added, “The Gulfstream Center for Design is currently outfitted to support advanced courses that may need additional 3D resources.” She also stated that students currently enrolled in the sculpture minor program will be able to complete their minors and are working with the student success and student advising departments to schedule the rest of their necessary courses.
While Crouch and Woolhiser shared their worries about the direction the school is taking, they also expressed a practical and forward-thinking vision. “We hope that Sculpture Forum will continue to give Savannah campus a sculpture presence by collaborating with the industrial design club, the ceramics club, different volunteer clubs and painting club,” Woolhiser said.
The pair of Presidents are graduating this May from SCAD, but the incoming President of Sculpture Forum, Charlie Schaeffer, plans to keep the club going. He will work with the club’s co-founder and advisor of 6 years, Professor Matt Toole, to continue offering opportunities to students through quarterly shows, studio visits with local artists, and encouraging the creation of sculpture. With the loss of Boundary Hall, Schaeffer said, “creating an environment to make work will be a bigger part of what Sculpture Forum is in the future.”

"Facts I - III" by Mirielle Jefferson
“Facts I – III” by Mirielle Jefferson

Toole, a featured artist in the exhibition, as well as the club advisor and sculpture professor, was present during the opening, lending an optimistic and supportive energy to the room. “When something closes, something else opens up. Other different opportunities come open or you have to make those opportunities come open. So I think we will find a way to make some things happen,” he said.
Despite the end of the sculpture minor on SCAD’s Savannah campus, Sculpture Forum seems to be poised to continue bringing the medium into the lives and careers of the SCAD community. For its part, Boundary Hall, the former site of the minor, will also continue to be a place for art. The Creative Coast plans to open the Creators’ Foundry this coming fall. Executive Director Bea Wray said, “TCC would like to say one word, ‘WELCOME!’ We see the Creators’ Foundry as important glue to connect SCAD students to the creative careers for which they are trained.”
While Toole’s words of wisdom look to be true both for the future of Sculpture Forum and Boundary Hall, the reality of the situation was still sinking in for the affected students. Back at Moon River, surrounded by the fruits of their passion for sculpture and the energy of a place, the students welcomed in their peers, professors, and members of the public, sharing both the work they created and the story of their loss. They are both moving forward and fighting for what was.

To sign Kristen Crouch’s petition visit
To learn more about The Creative Coasts’ Creators’ Foundry visit

Monday, May 19, 2014

Local Color: Painting Club- Sketchbook Show

Local Color: Painting Club will be hosting a Sketchbook Show this Friday, 6-9pm at Sicky Nar Nar!

If you would like to participate please bring your sketches by the gallery by 5pm on Wed with your $15 participation fee!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Goodbye Boundary on District

A group photo of some the sculpture students and faculty.

Sculpture students bid Boundary Hall goodbye

BY  • MAY 17, 2014 • STUDENT LIFE • COMMENTS OFF • 476
"Shift" by Sami Lee Woolhiser, constructed from steel and moss in 2013.
“Shift” by Sami Lee Woolhiser, a fourth-year painting major from San Jose, Calif., constructed from steel and moss in 2013.
Photos by Crosby Ignasher
On Friday, sculpture students and faculty gathered in the upstairs gallery at the Moon River Brewing Company to present their work and support the sculpture minor in Savannah at the “Goodbye Boundary” exhibition.
“It’s really like the last opportunity to show significance of the major and the minor, the quality of the work they produced by having those classes and professors,” said Mirielle Jefferson, a fourth-year painting major from Hoover, Alabama.
This week, students enrolled in sculpture classes at Boundary Hall found out that the sculpture minor is retiring in Savannah. SCAD is not renewing the lease on Boundary Hall and will no longer be offering classes to complete the minor.
“We weren’t really provided with a reason why; it just happened,” said Sami Lee Woolhiser, a fourth-year painting major from San Jose, California, who is president of the Sculpture Forum Club. “It might have been coming for a couple of years, we just don’t know.”
Some students received an email from Steve Bliss, the dean of Fine Arts, explaining this change. Bliss encouraged them to make an appointment with Christine Wilson or Liza Judson in the student success office to help with course planning.
“I was really angry and I was very surprised, because sculpture is one of the most original art forms and it seems they should have that at their main campus,” said Natalie Cranor, a second-year photography major from Atlanta.
Cranor took her first sculpture class, Beginning Sculptural Practices I, with Professor Chris Nitsche and decided she wanted to declare it as a minor around week five of the spring quarter.
Natalie Cranor a second year Photography major from Atlanta, Georgia. Her Piece Organic Geometry.
“Organic Geometry” by Natalie Cranor, a second-year photography major from Atlanta.
“My professor told me there was talk of getting rid of the minor and I should try to declare it now,” said Cranor. “So that’s what I did, but they wouldn’t allow me to.”
Cranor was unable to declare sculpture as her minor because the classes she needed were most likely not going to be offered in the future in Savannah.
“The dean said that I was not allowed to declare because they were trying to make it a teach-out process only,” said Cranor.
After meeting with her adviser and talking to Kristen Crouch, a photography major alumni from Wilmington, South Carolina, and the co-president of the Sculpture Forum, Cranor is contemplating whether or not she wants to go to Atlanta, where classes are still offered to pursue a sculpture major or minor.
“I think it’s a big loss,” said Jefferson. “I know a lot of students that have really benefitted from just taking one or two courses in the sculpture department and really utilizing it into their majors, into their works.”
Crouch merged her sculpture work with her photography through experimental processes, including transfers and printing on wood and metal.
She received her degree last quarter, but before she leaves to open a White Cube gallery in Wilmington, South Carolina, she wants to do as much as she can to keep the sculpture minor in Savannah.
On Wednesday, Crouch created an online petition called Save Sav Sculpture and sent the president’s office an email in an attempt to stop the eradication of the minor.
Kristen Couch a Photography major alumni from Wilmington, NC.
Kristen Crouch, a photography major alumni from Wilmington, S.C.
“The most frustrating thing is probably the lack of respect and understanding for the importance of fine art in an art college,” said Crouch. “If they take away sculpture, this university is one step closer to being a technical college, where kids are just learning how to render, not learning how to use materials.”
Crouch received an email back from the president’s office and has a meeting with the administration on Monday.
“No one wants to own up to it and no one will give a straight answer and that’s what I’m hoping to get on Monday,” said Crouch.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Petition to be heard

Save Sav Sculpture

The home campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design is trying to get rid of our sculpture department and building, Boundary Hall. In an attempt to explain their decision, the administration quotes that it is "for a more efficient use of resources across our four campuses". We need to let them know that this fine art department matters and this building is our home.

SCAD offers a sculpture minor at its Savannah campus, with the major being held in Atlanta. Most students get their first taste of Boundary Hall in their 3D design classes, a required foundations class for most majors. The building welcomes you with an eclectic gallery that always displays a plethora of art works, from found objects to 3D prints and cast metal sculptures. This refreshing variety and enthusiastic display of experimentation and creativity continues to captivate you as you walk through Boundary's open studios and wood shop. Its contagious passion and joy is undeniably the reason for countless sculpture exhibitions and events, prosperous commissions and fine art careers, serendipitously changed majors, and the providential formation of amazing friendships and memories. In removing the sculpture program and Boundary Hall, SCAD is not just giving up a building, they are eradicating the potentiality of a student to fortuitously stumble upon a delitescent passion, one that could change their life as it has so many of ours. The fact that sculpture is only a minor here in Savannah does not justify the abandonment of its walls or students. Something needs to be done and we need to be heard.

The art student that should be, and is so rare, is the one whose life is spent in the love and the culture of his personal sensations, the cherishing of his emotions, never undervaluing them, the pleasure of exclaiming them to others, and an eager search for their clearest expression.
-Robert HenriThe Art Spirit

This petition is not just for those affected, but anyone who believes in the power and beauty of fine art. Please sign and share with as many people as you can!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Goodbye Boundary

May 16, 2014 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Moon River Brewing Company - Upstairs Gallery
21 West Bay Street
Savannah,GA 31401
This is an exhibition of emerging and established artists hosted by the SCAD Sculpture Forum. We bid a farewell to our beloved home as many of us are graduating, moving and opening new chapters in our lives and art careers. Come join us for a night of art!


Nefelibata is an emerging fine art exhibition featuring Caeleigh Griffin, Daniela Guarin, Nicole Niederman, Sami Lee Woolhiser, and Daniella Zeman. Nefelibata, a Portuguese word for cloud walker, explores the themes of transcending tradition, physical body limitations and spirituality. This is done through interactive multi-media work that includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, video and installation.

Reception: May 29th, 6-9 pm
106 W 37th St, Savannah, GA
Drayton and 37th cross streets.
(Directly across from Elizabeth on 37th)

Sculpture Forum at Boys and Girl's Club

Sculpture Forum had a blast working with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club today! Thank you to Breaking the Cycle, a SCAD club who organizes various major based clubs to bring a variety of skill sets and activities to the kids.  Their smiles are so worth it. Awesome day!