Throughout the day on Oct. 12, Boise State student printmakers with the fine arts department partnered alongside Wingtip Press and the Idaho Historical Museum in order to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (day of the dead).
These printmakers are working in accordance with their integrated service learning requirement in their upper-division printmaking courses, which entails providing service hours with students from three local schools in the Treasure Valley; Foothills school of arts and science, Fairmont Jr. High and Nampa High School.
The student printmakers were assigned responsibility of designing 4-by-4 to 4-by-8 foot blocks, and then with their service hours, were put in charge of helping students from the three partner schools to construct the print blocks.
The printing of artwork itself was on bed sheets donated from hotels around the Treasure Valley, as well as a variety of Boise State campus dormitories. The sheets will be used as banners for the upcoming Nov. 2 Dia de Los Muertos procession.
Kam Kelley, senior fine arts major, described his admiration for the event and for the purpose it served.
“I think that this event being a printmaking event is an exciting way to get the public involved in this type of art form,” Kelley said, “We get to demo, talk with people and inform them of what we do and hopefully inspire new printmaking artists.”
Jill Fitterer, associate professor for the art department and head of the printmaking program, described the benefits for her students combining their projects with service-learning.
“I think the students are really gaining an awareness of what it means to be working as an artist in the community and learning ways they can actually connect with the community,” Fitterer said.
Fitterer went on to describe the goal behind having her students work in accordance with service learning.
“The purpose is to emphasize civic engagement and expanding their reach in the community,” Fitterer described.
Kelley echoed Fitterer’s earlier comments.
“I think that getting our practice out there into the public and getting people involved with the holiday and the process of the work we produce is a major goal not just for us or Boise state, but for the holiday and art as a whole,” Kelley said.
With a staff of well over 20 people, food, art, education and music was driving the heartbeat of the event. Boise State printmakers sought to bring a community together with their craft.
The steam-rolling event began 10 years ago by print maker James Bailey from the University of Montana who was initially invited to Boise State to teach a workshop on printmaking.