Click on image for publication quality photo
CYBERSPACE ART – Southeastern Louisiana University students have created a website for the area arts community – www.hammondarts.org – through the university’s undergraduate student research program, OSCAR. From left, are Sara Ciolino and Jaimie Callender of Hammond, Emily Caldwell of Dallas, Texas; Logan Broussard of Baton Rouge, and Southeastern digital art professor John Valentino.
SLU STUDENTS CREATE WEBSITE FOR AREA ARTS COMMUNITY
HAMMOND -- A website designed by Southeastern Louisiana University students is giving the local arts scene a headquarters on the Internet.
Visual arts majors Jaimie Callender of Hammond and Logan Broussard of Baton Rouge, with the help of general business major Sara Ciolino and the student Visual Arts Society (VAS), have created “Hammond Arts” – www.hammondarts.org. The Internet site provides information on arts organizations, showcases the work of student and community artists, and has dozens of links to local, state and national arts resources.
The students researched and created Hammond Arts through the Southeastern College of Arts and Sciences’ OSCAR program.
Each semester, OSCAR – the Office of Student Creative Activities and Research – provides grants to undergraduate students to conduct research and engage in creative ventures with Southeastern faculty members. This fall, OSCAR distributed $16,000 to 22 students who are working with a dozen Southeastern professors, said Michael Greene, director of Connections, the Arts and Sciences program that is an umbrella for initiatives such as undergraduate research and service learning.
“OSCAR students are the best of the best at Southeastern,” said Greene. “These students are doing cutting edge work.”
President Randy Moffett said Hammond Arts is a great example of how OSCAR helps Southeastern undergraduate students develop unique -- and ultimately marketable -- skills.
“OSCAR has been so successful that we have established similar undergraduate research programs in all of our academic colleges,” Moffett said. “It not only creates hands-on learning experiences and opportunities for students to work directly with faculty, but, in some cases, students get to travel and present papers at professional conferences. All of this builds their resumes and portfolios and enhances their job placement and career opportunities.”
“This is the type of program you might see at the graduate level at other institutions,” he added. “But Southeastern provides it for undergraduates. It’s a valuable tool in helping us recruit top students.”
Callender and Broussard, who are both studying digital arts and design and are VAS members, received their $1,500 OSCAR grant last spring. They launched Hammond Arts on the Internet in September.
“We wanted to do a site where artists can put their work online, and where everyone can easily access information about bands, artists, musicians and arts organizations,” Broussard said.
“Except for Southeastern’s web site, which has links to the activities of Fanfare (Southeastern’s October arts festival) and the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, there were no web sites available that offer up-to-date information on the arts,” Callender added.
Working with digital design professor John Valentino, Callender and Broussard used the OSCAR grant to buy software and equipment, pay for a web hosting service, and generate flyers, posters and ads to promote the site. Callender’s expertise was design, while Broussard contributed technical know-how. Ciolino helped with the extensive research into the local arts scene and the Visual Arts Society agreed to permanently maintain the site.
VAS President Emily Caldwell, a junior visual arts major from Dallas, Texas, said Hammond Arts will help the student organization publicize events -- such as their ceramic pumpkin painting and digital art print sale at the Hammond Farmer’s Market on Oct. 19. It also gives the organization a place to showcase student exhibits.
Caldwell is one of seven artists, including Callender, fellow students Sharon Gilardi and Michael Chaix, and local artists Woody Stevens, Toni Nelson and Phillip Colwart, who have already submitted works for online galleries.
Hammond Arts also has information on or links to local organizations such as the Hammond Regional Arts Center, the Downtown Development District, Columbia Players and the Northshore Endowment for the Arts. It has an events calendar and an online form for submitting information on upcoming activities.
There are links to resources for artists, art educators, musicians, actors, dancers, digital artists, and photographers, and lists of area businesses selling equipment or services related to the arts, such as framing or music lessons.
Joey France, director of the Hammond Regional Arts Center, calls Hammond Arts “nothing but good.”
“It’s great that they’ve taken the arts community under their wing and are using their time and talents to promote it,” added Downtown Development District Director Marco Monoc. He said when Callender and Broussard approached the DDD board for help in publicizing Hammond Arts, members didn’t hesitate to endorse the project.
While Hammond Arts will be a boon to the arts community, it will also benefit current and future Southeastern students, Callender said. The web design software purchased with the OSCAR grant is being donated to the Digital Arts Center so other students can use it to design sites. Maintaining the site will be a valuable learning tool for VAS members.
“I’m glad Jaimie and Logan came to me and that I was able to help,”said Valentino. “It’s a good project that will live long beyond the original OSCAR grant.”
Artists, organizations or businesses interested in participating in Hammond Arts can find additional information under the site’s “Questions” link.