Creative U students and faculty

Creative U Returns to Inspire Young Artists, Designers and Scholars

Creative in white letters on a magenta background, a capital letter in UNT dark and light greenIn June 2023, CVAD launched its first-ever summer arts program, Creative U. The program, in development at the college over the last few years, is a collaboration between the CVAD Foundations program and the Onstead Institute for Education in the Visual Arts and Design.

The Foundations program encompasses a coursework track to provide a framework for visual problem-solving and critical-thinking strategies. It incorporates the study of culture, history, and practices of various art and design forms across disciplines to prepare students for rigorous college courses in visual art, design, art education and art history. The Onstead Institute provides services and resources for the college’s K-12 art and design education efforts. The two units partnered to establish Creative U, which welcomed 20 aspiring high-school artists to the college for two weeks of studio activities and on-campus excursions.

10 Creative U students working on art projects at tablesCreative U students undertook several projects in the program, allowing them to gain exposure to various aspects of drawing, color theory, collage, design, and production of small artbooks called zines and other artistic elements, techniques, and practices. Students were enthusiastic about their experiences in the program. One student remarked, “This camp has helped me improve how I see art. I often move too fast. I am learning to slow down and fully analyze the piece I am looking at.” Another observed, “The program is so interactive and free to allow us to explore and connect. I love my instructors and peers.”

In addition to nurturing the talent of young artists, the program also allowed them to experience the university setting. Students had lunch daily at Bruce Hall, one of the campus’s signature dining areas. They also enjoyed trips to Special Collections and The Spark, a maker's space within Willis Library, and the Texas Fashion Collection. CVAD Galleries Curator and Director Stefanie Dlugosz-Acton also met with students to discuss curatorial practices and exhibition spaces.

For making this inaugural event a success, special thanks go to Peter Hyland, Onstead Institute director; Binod Shrestha, associate professor and Foundations director; Eric Ligon, professor and senior associate dean for administrative affairs; Kim Willis, senior administrative coordinator; Jennifer Stanley, teaching fellow; and Marcela Reyes, adjunct faculty assistant.

Building on the success of the inaugural year, CVAD plans to offer Creative U annually each summer. Please visit the Creative U Information and Application web page for more information.

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CVAD Mission: Cultivating creative talent and critical minds within a collaborative and caring environment.

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