Moorpark College arts courses persevere as they get creative from home

Photo+created+on+Tuesday%2C+April+7%2C+in+Moorpark%2C+Calif.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt

Photo created on Tuesday, April 7, in Moorpark, Calif. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Caitlin McHale

Due to COVID-19, Moorpark College students have been required to continue their classes online, with arts courses facing an especially big adjustment. Classes such as painting, ceramics and photography normally create projects on campus. Yet because campus is closed for the safety of students and faculty, arts professors are forced to get creative.

Professor of Watercolor and Gallery Practices, Erika Lizée stated that meetings with faculty in this department have taken place. Lizée expressed that these professors are all using Canvas, which has become a significant tool.

“The Discussion section within Canvas has become an important tool for us to be able to have critiques, where students can upload images of their projects and give each other feedback,” Lizée explained.

The Perez family views the works on display during the Work in Progress photo gallery on Wednesday, Nov. 21 in the Humanities building. Daniel Perez had work on display through participation in the Intermediate Photography class.
The Perez family views the works on display during the Work in Progress photo gallery on Wednesday, Nov. 21 in the Humanities building. Daniel Perez had work on display through participation in the Intermediate Photography class. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Many professors are making screencast videos and video tutorials, while also using existing demonstration videos from the internet. Lizée conveyed that some faculty are using Zoom and meeting during regular class time, while others are not.

While students must work on projects from home using materials on hand, Lizée reassured that faculty are adjusting expectations and requirements due to the complicated situation.

“Everyone is doing their best to ensure student learning throughout this difficult time. We are proud of our students for continuing to use their creativity as an outlet for healing and growth,” Lizée stated.

Hannah Helfand, a student in Professor Gerry Zucca’s ceramics class, discussed the challenge of creating projects from home.

“It’s really hard staying motivated at home because when you’re in the studio surrounded by people who also want to excel it pushes you to do more,” Helfand expressed.

Helfand shared that watching ceramics videos on YouTube and going through the artists’ Instagram accounts helps her stay motivated.

Artwork produced at home in Quarantine by
Artwork produced at home in Quarantine by Hannah Helfand.

Zucca made and sent videos on how to set up a studio at home to his students. Zucca had already been using cameras often to make videos for his class, so the teaching method has not changed drastically.

These students were recently assigned to make a piece, and separately do some reflective writing on their feelings towards the COVID-19 pandemic. Students then took a part of their writing and carved it into their pieces. Zucca has called it the “Pandemic Piece.”

“It’s a creative art class, so I’m trying to have them make something about this moment also,” Zucca emphasized.

In Professor Corina Gamma’s Beginning Photography class, students are given assignments through Canvas. Since students cannot be on campus, Gamma gives specific topics to photograph that can be done from home, such as motion.

“I feel it is easier for us to turn in our assignments. However, it is harder to learn new things about the camera, and currently we are not able to use the dark room because of the quarantine,” Bella Dinovitz expressed, a student in Gamma’s Begininning Photography class.

Despite not being able to learn on campus, the class is being managed well. Students and faculty understand it is for the best in order to protect them from the current pandemic.

“I’m thankful for Moorpark to put their students safety, and professors safety first and to only have online classes for the time being. I wouldn’t want anyone getting sick or having a higher risk of getting sick,” Dinovitz stated.