Guest artists visit FMU, teach workshops for students


Photo by: Kyle Graham

FMU Students take part in creating ornaments from Polaroids at TthomasArts, a local art studio, during the Nov. 9 workshops.

FMU students and community members participated in a series of Artist Workshops throughout October and November.

The five workshops, which are all free and open to the public, are hosted by visiting artists who all specialized in certain crafts. Two of the artists were alumni.

Each workshop targets a different skill set within the arts and either offers a hands-on-learning experience or hosts a public lecture from a guest artist.

Yvette Cummings Arendt, a professor at Coastal Carolina University, hosted the second workshop, which focused on patterns and collages. Dr. Larry Bunch, an art educator, hosted the second workshop. Two FMU alumni hosted the third and fourth workshops.

Tyler Pate, a 2014 graduate, is now an art director at Charleston’s Blue Ion Studio. He spoke with students about the art industry after college.

Nancy Devon Carsten, the owner of NDC Photography Studio in Lake City, S.C., and FMU alumna, taught the third workshop installment, which focused on photography.

Carsten’s holiday-themed ornament workshop focused on using Polaroid cameras. Carsten encouraged attendees to think about the importance of photographs that are printed and tangible.

“I hope people walked away from the workshop understanding the importance of a tangible photograph,” Carsten said. “There is something so special about holding a photo in your hand. Printing your photos is so important because it helps leave a legacy. Living in such a digital age, people often forget about that.”

Carsten’s recent exploration into Polaroid film in her photography sessions inspired the workshop.

According to Carsten, Polaroid photos make great gifts and are keepsakes that her clients enjoy being able to immediately bring home and place on their refrigerators. Her workshop was held at TthomasArts Studio in downtown Florence.

Dr. Howard Frye organized the workshops. Frye is an associate professor of art education and the coordinator of the art education program. He said the inspiration for the workshops came from his favorite class from his undergraduate degree, which incorporated visiting artists. These artists were brought in to share about their crafts and the art industry, much like the artists visiting FMU this month.

According to Frye, the workshops so far have been successful because of the real life application they bring to FMU art students.

“I think many art students are inspired by seeing successful alumni because it shows that an art degree doesn’t have to be a dead end, and the advice they give is very sound,” Frye said. “All the visiting artists tell the students the same thing: If you want something, you have to go out and get it. Living your life with a passion and a sense of purpose is really the message they have, and that’s relevant to all students, whether they are art or non-art majors.”

Frye said this is the third semester he has hosted visiting artists with REAL grant funding. Frye said he believes the artist workshops have impacted around 200 student attendees this semester alone.

Although Frye organized the event, he said much of the success of the series is due to collaboration with Tiffany Thomas, owner of TthomasArts, and Colleen Critcher, instructor of art at FMU. The FMU Art Club also provided input on the artists to bring in for the series, Frye said.

The final workshop, hosted by Sanford Greene, a Marvel Comics cartoonist, will be held on Nov. 30. The event is at 3:30 p.m. in room 202 in the Hyman Fine Arts Center.