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Social art by Gregory Sale inspires students

Photo Courtesy MCT Campus Wire Service

Visiting art instructor Gregory Sale gave students something to think about with his social art lecture and workshop Wednesday, Sept. 26 and Thursday,
Sept. 27.

Inspired from social issues in his Phoenix, Ariz. community, Sale discussed how his art is a “gesture” to society with hopes of inspiring community members to think about these issues. Students said they were interested in this concept of social art and they think it would be beneficial for Boise State to offer an interdisciplinary course on the subject.

Elise Robbins, senior visual arts major, said she could see a social arts course happening at
Boise State.

“I think it could work,” Robbins said. “I think in order to have a discussion where Gregory is at, we (art students) have to be able to talk about aesthetics and we also have to be able to talk to an anthropologist about how this community is, and we have to be able to see it from the psychology side. It’d be a great class. I’d take it in a heartbeat. And I think it should be offered for everybody.”

Rather than doing a hands-on workshop, Sale gave a  presentation composed of examples of social art that inspired him and his students. Sale primarily gave emphasis to projects his students brought to the community, including building a sign for a diner and serving a dinner in the diner. Sale’s students not only made the sign, but also cooked and served the diner utilizing more than just their artistic skills.

Erik Goible, senior visual arts minor, said he agrees a social arts course would benefit more than just art students. Anthropology, psychology and art are just three examples of courses which could incorporate this concept of social art.

“It would give more purpose to many of these departments that are kind of just languishing in art,” Goible said.

In his lecture, Sale discussed the importance of different perspectives and disciplines, especially concerning the relationship between art and science.

“That whole relationship to science was really interesting to me,” said Kayla Swanson, senior visual arts major. “Art is very similar to science. Scientific method is very structured, but we’re still asking questions and we’re still trying to find answers. You’re running experiments, but you’re doing it in an aesthetic sensibility about things.”

Sale’s art approaches what he described to be “polarizing” issues in his community.

Through his art, Sale wants to inspire discussion about these issues by making what he calls “gestures” in the community. Goible said he appreciated this different approach
to art.

“To me it’s all about process,” Goible said. “The idea of this (Sale’s art) is that it’s a living thing. Sale brought up a totally different way of looking at art that I haven’t seen before.”

Robbins said she also liked what Sale presented because it gives her something new to add to her artistic skill set.

“It’s great information to have in your toolbox.” Robbins said.

More information about Sale and his art can be found at Gregory Sale’s website.

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