Art and Design Students Visit Brussels

School of Art and Design students in Belgium

Students attend Frontières/Boundaries workshop hosted by ESA St.-Luc Bruxelles

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 27, 2019) — In February of 2019, professor Chris Malone led nine School of Art and Design students to Belgium for a week-long, international arts workshop on boundaries. The Frontières/Boundaries workshop hosted by ESA St.-Luc Bruxelles was aimed at students and professors in the third year of a bachelor’s degree in digital arts, illustration, comics and graphic design.
     Seven international schools participated, including Bologna’s Accademia di Belle Arti; Warsaw’s Akademia Sztuk Pięknych; Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts and Gengdan Academy of Design; Barcelona’s Escola Massana Centre d’Art i Disseny; and Berlin’s Weißensee School of Art; along with Kennesaw State University.
     The main challenge of this workshop was “to lead students outside the school walls to acquire a culture of civic engagement and a transcultural mind” and to examine boundaries through artistic practice, according to the exhibition catalog. The work resulting from the workshop was exhibited at the Maison des Cultures de Saint-Gilles.
     Student Katie Metzger said, “Participating in the ESA St. Luc ‘Boundaries’ workshop was a positive, eye-opening experience about the universality of visual language and narrative that exists. You don’t need to speak the same language as someone else to connect with them. Art has that kind of power and it was put into practice in Belgium.”
     Prof. Malone may have had a hand in that. He said, “I didn’t want my students to only interact with others from their home country, so I separated them from other KSU students. The most exciting part of the week for me was watching all of the students quickly get past their language barriers by communicating through artwork and comics. By only using visuals, students were able to share jokes, stories, encouragement and even feelings of excitement or homesickness with each other.” Student Julee Davis added, “Representing the School of Art and Design allowed me to build relationships with so many other international art students, all by way of visual expression and not necessarily through verbal language.”
     The partnership with ESA St.-Luc Bruxelles came together after a bit of luck and shared passions. Geo Sipp, director of the School of Art and Design, said, “A chance visit to the Lambiek bookstore and gallery in Amsterdam introduced me to the work of Brussels-based artist Dominique Goblet and I met with her in Brussels. There, she introduced me to Thierry Van Hasselt, publisher of Frêmok, the Belgian comics group that creates experimental and avant-garde albums. Each of them taught at ESA St.-Luc Bruxelles, one of the finest design schools in Europe. I then met with the director of the institution, Marc Streker, and proposed working together to facilitate programming and opportunities for faculty and students from our respective institutions. This meeting resulted in the development of an articulation agreement between ESA St.-Luc Bruxelles and Kennesaw State University, and the Frontières/Boundaries workshop opportunity for our students.”
     The resulting agreement has had broader reach than just study abroad. Geo said, “The unique comics curriculum at ESA St.-Luc Bruxelles led to the development of KSU’s Illustration and Comics programming. In fact, KSU has the only concentration in comics at a public university in the United States.”