Student-led effort ensures that creative work can be seen and celebrated by the public
May 7, 2020
Claudia Sanchez and her classmates at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute had been looking forward to seeing their Creative Seminar work on display in the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy. As graduating students in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS), this gallery show was supposed to be the culmination of four years of intense learning and hard work.
Sanchez wanted the experience of watching the public view her capstone project, a 2D animation short titled En Mi Viejo San Juan, an homage to the emotional struggle she felt about leaving her home in Puerto Rico to study in Troy.
Then the pandemic struck.
For students in arts-related majors, Creative Seminar provides the forum for the development and presentation of the senior thesis. With the Rensselaer campus closed and public events canceled, Sanchez and her classmates are unable to publicly showcase their individual projects as planned. But she didn’t want their work to go entirely unseen, so she began leading the effort to develop an alternative.
On May 9, Sanchez and her classmates will launch Hindsight 2020, a website designed for each student to feature their individual portfolios.
“Having to move this exhibit online has been a struggle,” Sanchez said. “The learning curve has been steep, but I’m ready for this challenge. It’s important for me and the other students to showcase what we’ve learned at Rensselaer to the community.”
Branda Miller, a professor of media arts in HASS, has worked with Creative Seminar students for more than 20 years. She noted that Sanchez has demonstrated critical leadership skills in a time of pronounced uncertainty.
“Creative Seminar is an exciting opportunity to showcase the amazing creativity, interdisciplinary, and complex technological skills of our graduating Rensselaer students,” Miller said. “Working virtually as a key member of a small student team, building the website for the upcoming exhibition, Hindsight 2020, Claudia demonstrates artistic excellence, professionalism, and a dedication to collaboration.”
Sanchez hopes the public will visit the website and click on the students’ portfolios, not only because the website is a springboard for future work opportunities, but because the art displayed has meaning.
“Art has been used as a way to communicate and to relax in moments of anxiety,” Sanchez said. “My classmates and I have learned a lot during our four years at Rensselaer, and we want people to enjoy the art experience, especially during these stressful times.”