To enhance and accommodate their experiences in The Artist’s Studio, students must form and participate in an artist’s guild, and the make-up of a guild is entirely in the students’ hands. Even though artistic endeavors demand ultimately that an artist work alone, artistic masterpieces are always collaborative products, and so within The Artist’s Studio, each participant works as a member of his or her guild to support, encourage, assist, advise, and critique other members of the guild as they develop and refine his or her artistic projects, including eventually the creative Honors senior project, with the hope that these guilds will stretch beyond the classes to support each member’s artistic endeavors in every context. A guild must have at least three members, but may be as large as the students’ choose. They may belong to two guilds if they choose. Belonging to and meeting with a second guild not only provides additional training and feedback in collaborative efforts, it earns a letter grade reward which the student can use as an upgrade on any single essay or the final exam. Each semester, guilds hold at least 12 weekly meetings which accomplish a specific task (discussing a piece submitted by one of the members, a critical discussion of a concert or movie, an exploration of an artistic technique, etc.) and each member submits a 100-word summary of the meeting before class the next week.
These are some of those reports to give you a look at what the guilds are doing:
We worked a little more on our magazine today. Erin and I have been working on it all week, but now we had a chance to share our ideas with everyone else. Our first edition will center around the themes of being unrooted, winter, forestry, and our pasts. We’re planning on including old photographs of our ancestors, which I’m especially excited about. Erin, since this is kind of her brainchild, is the editor-in-chief of our publication, and she asked if I would be her creative director. I am sincerely flattered that she asked me, but we have very similar tastes in art so that will help keep the issues cohesive. I showed her some poems of mine that I think would fit well with this issue, and we’re planning on including them.
The music guild met today. It was Sam's day to show what he's been working on. He and I have been doing a lot together lately, so I was part of his presentation. We performed our cover of "Violet Hill" by Coldplay. Dean and Patton gave us feedback. They loved how we changed the feel of the song. It was really straight rock and we made it very soft and relaxed, but still dynamic. And Sam found the coolest harmony. The guys loved it. So did Jennifer, she was sitting in there. Then we performed a song Sam started writing last December. We just went back to it and tried to finish it well. The guys REALLY liked that one. They said the feel is super cool. And they tried to brainstorm with us on ideas of the last few lines we're trying to finish. It was a good meeting. I really like our guild.
Today we met and talked about a piece of writing that I had submitted. I always forget how nice it is to have people who truly appreciate a piece of art to read my stories. Even if it isn’t their style of reading they look at it as art. I was really happy that Erin really enjoyed my piece. It was a darker story and she really enjoyed my use of short sentences and basically the entire story line in general. Mary really liked my opening line and use of imagery. I never try to overload on imagery. Instead I try to give small amounts at distanced intervals. I think they all really appreciated the piece, which is always a great confidence booster.
This week in writer's guild I shared a few of my own poems. Generally when I write poetry it's very narrative and stream of consciousness. I don't share my writing very often, so it was intimidating to read something as personal as poetry to a group of people, but I'm really glad that I have this group to share with, seeing as they all know what it's like to be a writer and feel anxious about sharing work. They also gave me a lot of good feedback on my poems, like trying to switch the tenses and the pronouns in them in order to make them more personal to me and more effective as poems. I think that it will be great to share more things in the future with them now that I feel more confident in it.