QEP grant opens up world of opportunities for KSU students
By Scott Singleton
The exterior of the Golcuk Art and Cultural Center announces the exhibitions curated by Hightower
Students visiting art exhibition at Kocaeli University
Photographs courtesy of Lin Hightower
Fifty pieces of art by Kennesaw State University visual arts students were displayed in art exhibitions this past June and July at Kocaeli University in Kocaeli, Turkey and at the Golcuk Art and Cultural Center in Golcuk, Turkey. Covered by local television and newspapers, the exhibitions provided KSU students with valuable experience and international publicity.
The exhibitions were made possible by KSU’s Quality Enhancement Program, currently implemented through 2012 with a focus on “global learning for engaged citizenship.” As part of the QEP initiative and other “Get Global” learning resources, grants were awarded to several College of the Arts and staff for the 2009-2010 school year to help support the plan to “prepare students to be leaders and create a campus culture that assures an appreciation of diversity.”
Lin Hightower, professor in the Department of Visual Arts, received a QEP grant and established the connections to Kocaeli University and the Golcuk Art and Cultural Center. After initially traveling to Turkey for KSU’s 2008-2009 “Year of Turkey” study program, Hightower wanted to form a closer relationship with universities and art centers in Turkey to provide her students with more opportunities to interact with art students around the world.
Kocaeli University, a large university similar to KSU, is located about one hour from Istanbul. It was selected for its connection to the Golcuk Art and Cultural Center. In addition to curating the student exhibitions, Hightower also set up instructional workshops with local artists at the Golcuk Art and Cultural Center. Through the workshops, Hightower instructed local craftspeople on creating, critiquing and marketing their artwork. As a result, artists in Golcuk “will better understand how to design and how to market their work,” Hightower says.
KSU students currently enrolled in Hightower’s 2D classes are also benefiting from the connection to Kocaeli University. Through webcams, KSU students will interact with students at Kocaeli University to discuss art and work on designs for murals at the Kocaeli campus. “When students see people in Turkey as their neighbors, it takes foreign countries that seem far away and brings them closer, not only through the Internet, but by interacting with students learning the same things.”
The connections formed in Turkey through the QEP grant have allowed Hightower to begin a study abroad program in Istanbul. Beginning next summer, “Turkey: Studio Arts and Art History” will offer 10 students 24 days traveling throughout Turkey and studying in the “crossroads of civilizations.” Students in the program will have the opportunity to interact and work with local artists in studio workshops.
The relationship with Kocaeli University will continue to offer KSU students more opportunities to grow as citizens of the world. Kocaeli has already requested another student exhibition in spring 2010, and Hightower hopes to hold a student exhibition at KSU featuring art by Kocaeli students within the next year.