Art on the Spectrum

Sculpture by Armida Portman ’14 for the “Technology and Community” publication, a creative project of the Class of 2014

Visitors to the Mulberry House on the Fine Arts Quad will find a compelling collection of art and literature on display—everything from a globe constructed of circuit boards, to a tree of miniature buzzards using cell phones and laptops, a computer monitor made into a habitat and many more thought-provoking drawings, paintings, poems, screen presentations, and musical compositions. Each in their own way interprets the notion of “Technology and Community,” exploring how technological developments redefine our relationship with others and alter notions of community.

Many pieces in the exhibit, which were developed over the summer, represent the first intellectual contributions to campus by Denison’s newest contingent, the Class of 2014. Others were created by seasoned faculty and staff. In addition to the exhibit, dozens of submissions have been published in a print anthology by the First Year Program. Altogether, the collection kicks off Denison’s 2010-11 Spectrum, a campuswide series of events, studies, and presentations relating to the theme of “Technology and Community.”

Opening speaker Steven Berlin Johnson. Photo by Jesús Gorriti/Wikimedia Commons.

The name “Spectrum” is new to campus this year, but the tradition can be traced back to the summer of 2003, when then-Dean of First-Year Students Laurel Kennedy (who is now Denison’s vice president of student affairs) introduced the idea of a first-year student/faculty project relating to a specific theme. After several faculty members began to pick up on the theme in various courses and disciplines, the theme was expanded into a campuswide, year-long, interdisciplinary series. It took on the name “McGregor Connections Initiative,” thanks to a generous three-year grant to develop the program by the McGregor Fund of Detroit. Last year, as the grant expired, Denison renamed the program “Spectrum” to symbolize its broad, multi-faceted nature.

Each year the faculty are invited to suggest themes that are discussed by the Academic Events Committee, with the final choice determined by faculty vote. The Spectrum Series hosts 10 to 12 major events each year, and it co-sponsors films, field trips, art exhibits, service learning experiences, classroom discussions and book groups.

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