The Show Must Go On
By Rodney Setzer ’22
This article appeared originally in the fall 2021 issue of Frontiers Magazine.
The 2020-2021 school year was difficult for students across America. They had to switch from learning in-person to an online system with limited human interaction. Not only did the classroom change for students, but so did the way they explored their interests and passions.
That’s why adjunct Spartanburg Methodist College Art Professors Mills Brown and Sarah Baldwin did the best they could to offer students a bit of normality during these unprecedented times. They wanted to ensure that SMC would have a gallery showing to celebrate everything the art students accomplished. The digital art gallery they developed allowed students to see how their pieces worked in combination and allowed students to express what they were grappling with over the past year.
They used a program called Kunstmatrix to set up a virtual room and uploaded all of the student-submitted artwork. Brown and Baldwin then placed the art around a three-dimensional gallery that allows viewers to virtually walk through as if they were there.
This innovative step taken by SMC gave students an incredibly unique experience that should be the start of even more innovation by SMC’s art department, with both Brown and Baldwin stating their interest in venturing into the realm of augmented and virtual reality for future shows.
Director of Art Enrichment Josh Holt promoted the show across campus while Brown and Baldwin set up the digital gallery. The gallery also made the art show available for everyone to see over the internet. This availability was important to Baldwin and Brown to make sure that the art was visible for the extended families of their students. This experience was impactful for SMC student Briana Rice who said, “It was the first time that my extended family could see my art in a gallery. Being able to walk through it while on the phone with them made it more personal, and it was cool. I loved it!” The gallery was a representation of SMC taking extra steps to make the semester as normal as possible for students. “The Digital Gallery was important to hold this year. It showed that even in the pandemic, we were still passionate and striving to learn, create, and express ourselves,” said SMC freshman Ashley Pereira.The Digital Art Gallery increased the reach of the students’ art as well. Having their work visible online allowed the art to be seen by more eyes than ever, resulting in many students selling their artwork and experiencing the jubilation of making money doing what they love.