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MU students break down summer reading with art

By Kaitlyn Foye
On April 3, 2014

The Miami University Art Museum calls on students and members of the community to question reality in its current exhibition "Reality is Broken," a display that spotlights student work created in response to the 2013 Summer Reading Program book.

After convocation each year, students break into groups to discuss the summer reading, but the discourse usually ends there.

"With this exhibition, we're giving students the opportunity to continue the dialog, by putting it in visual terms," said Jason Shaiman, the museum's curator.

Shaiman was an advocate for exhibiting the works in the spring rather than the fall.

"[It] ultimately extends the importance of the summer reading program beyond the fall semester and makes it a year-long program," he said.

Having the exhibition in the spring also allowed students time to create and submit artwork during the fall semester. Eleven students participated, resulting in 14 chosen pieces, including sculpture, print works and a video game.

Although the exhibit features pieces responding to the first-year reading assignment, not all submissions came from freshmen. In fact, most came from students well beyond their first year in college.

Beyond the realm of creativity and art, the exhibition presents an opportunity for classmates to see what fellow students are doing and, if nothing else, support their friends.

"It will be really cool to see what people took from the book," said senior James Cox, creator of "Children's Day," a digital game featuring original artwork and music by Colin Matsumoto (Class of 2013) and Alex Underwood (Class of 2012), respectively.

Cox said he believes that the exhibition itself carries a strong message.

"You don't just have to make projects for class. You can actually go out and make things on your own - it kind of shows the potential that people have," Cox said. "It's also kind of cool because it has to do with games."

Fellow artist and senior Jenna Klein also offers positive remarks.

"I think it's really important to support student artwork. There's not a lot of exhibitions on campus that really showcase what all the art students are doing," adds Klein. "It's good to have the art museum because it [provides] another way to look at the art in a more professional setting."

Faculty at the Miami University Art Museum have confirmed that a similar exhibition will be held again in correlation with next year's summer reading book. This time, students of all disciplines will be invited to participate. More details will be released in the near future.

The "Reality is Broken" exhibition aligns with the art museum's many efforts to engage with the university, integrating art and academics. The exhibition will be on display through the Spring 2014 semester.

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