Written by: Debi Boyle

While many turn to Minecraft, Animal Crossing and streaming services during this time of social distancing, classes carry on through screens as well. Plenty of University of Wisconsin—Stout students were timid about the prospect of taking classes online, and those in art courses are left without workspaces.  

A roadblock many people are having is the lack of a learning environment. They can’t be in direct contact with their professors or other students when they work at home. Only having access to email as a way of communication means getting information can take longer than in a face-to-face class. For some students, a lack of community to talk about different ideas takes away their productivity or motivation. Erin Kenealy, a University of Wisconsin-Stout student within the art program, said that they are less motivated to draw at their home. “Having classmates around to bounce ideas off of and interact with is another huge benefit to art class that is missing now,” Kenealy said.

Natasha Smozynski’s home studio / UW-Stout Printmaking

There are also those who don’t have all the supplies they need from the studios. Many students moved studios to their own living spaces to make the best of the closed campus.

There are less opportunities to speak to others face-to-face. Rather than being in a class where people can see each other’s work clearly, people need to share images of their art on Canvas or other means. It appears that some people may not even share their work and even not do their work.

James Springsteen’s home studio / UW-Stout Springsteen

Another thing many have lost through online classes is a consistent schedule. Some students have a difficult time with motivation amidst the COVID-19 crisis and some, by extension, have difficulty making their own schedules and sticking to them. Distraction and looseness in schedules can add onto the fact that students feel less motivated and comfortable working at home.

It appears that many professors in the art program, especially those who teach more hands-on classes, are having a difficult time as well. This is a sudden change in the middle of a pandemic, after all. How they are going about teaching and telling students of assignments and projects appears to be a mixed bag.

Though there is seemingly more free time in quarantine, there is the aspect of being trapped within one’s own home. Art students especially have less access to the things that were in the Applied Arts building from lockers to rooms to communities themselves. It is a difficult time, but many are trying to take care of themselves through rest and work.