Both artists are currently in residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Mont., where they are encouraged to focus intensely on their work, explore new ideas and techniques and push their work to new levels.
Having Hansen-Gard and Park come to Montana Western connected a professional practice to the classroom, providing the students with a footprint to move towards their envisioned success, said ceramics professor Michael Hengler.
The students had the opportunity to engage with professional working artists Kyungmin Park and Jeni Hansen-Gard, who exhibit artwork nationally and internationally. They were able to observe technical skills, inquire about inspiration and motivation, and have contemporary art theory and methodology demonstrated before them.
I believe art is powerful enough to change lives. I love the opportunity to share with these students the impact my art has made to expand their knowledge of what art is and what it can be, Hansen-Gard said. For an introductory ceramics class it is my hope that by witnessing my passion for my art the students will become intrigued, start thinking and asking questions.
Due to UMWs Experience One program, students are able to spend three hours a day for 18 days, creating art and learning a depth of technique that wouldnt be available in a traditional university setting.
I wanted to inspire these students, spark their interest and give them hope that an artist can make a living doing what they love, Park said.
The Archie Bray Foundation is a public, non-profit education institute founded in 1951 whose primary mission is to provide an environment that stimulates creative work in ceramics.