Igniting the creative flame

Youngstown State University’s art department and the Beecher Center for Art and Technology held a contemporary art lecture at the McDonough Museum of Art on Wednesday, with three more to follow throughout April.

A pop-up bookstore filled with independent and underground authors was the subject of the first lecture.

Dana Sperry, coordinator and art professor at YSU, said the lectures will help students beef up their resumes and help them stand out when applying for jobs.

“We want students to think about broadening their horizons when it comes to their careers,” he said. “There are so many possibilities out there, and we want them to find what they want, even if it is of their own practice.”

Wednesday’s lecture and exhibition featured artist Jodi Morrison and a brief overview of her piece, “Fleeting Pages.” Morrison transformed an old Borders in into a pop-up bookstore, which featured books by local artists and independent authors in Pittsburgh.

Morrison said she wanted her piece to be shocking.

“I had a “build-it-and-they-will-come” attitude when thinking of the idea, and people came in from everywhere,” she said.

Morrison also said she brought many unique aspects to her store, including a life-size calendar filled with fliers from events. Once the events were over, Morrison would take pictures at the events and then replace the fliers with photos.

Along with “Fleeting Pages,” Morrison has also had other pop-up projects for various fashion designers in Brooklyn.

Besides Morrison’s work, McDonough will also be bringing other contemporary artists such as Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (aka “Shoppy”) and Jason Martin whose unique work includes visuals of the different types of species that reside in his dreams.

Leslie Brothers, director of McDonough, said the lecture is a good opportunity for art students at YSU.

“It is important to bring in visiting artists and other art professionals because just as with any discipline, exposing students to ideas and new ways of thinking,” Brothers said. “Ideally, these talks would attract students from all over campus in addition to those taking classes in the department of art.”

Brothers added that the speakers address more than the act of art-making, as their work often comments on economics, sociology, the environment, identity and politics.

Junior art major KJ Davis said she looks forward to the remaining lectures because she missed Wednesday’s event with Jodi Morrison.

“I feel that it’s an honor for aspiring artists to interact with various artists from around the globe,” Davis said. “It really gives us a one-on-one chance to discuss goals and truly a chance to take a step in the mind of an artist.”

Davis also said the lectures are helpful because it shows students an idea of how hard they truly have to work to become a professional.

For a complete schedule of the lectures and their brief descriptions, visit http://mcdonoughmuseum.ysu.edu or call 330-941-3627.