Graduate Studies

International Graduate Student Trip to the SOWA Artist Guild Studio

Shan Lu

November 30, 2011

Graduate International Students at the SOWA Artist Guild
Graduate International Students attending a trip to the SOWA Artist Guild.

The following news article was written by Shan Lu, a graduate student in the Integrated Marketing Communication program. This trip describes a field trip a number of international graduate students attended with Professor Cathryn Edelstein.

On the evening of October 7, 2011, students from the graduate international communication classes joined our teacher Cathryn Edelstein on a field trip to the SOWA Artists Guild in Boston, which opens their studios to the public on the first Friday of every month. It was an opportunity for artists to present and communicate their art concepts with art enthusiasts. As a group, we were strongly impressed with the fantastic works of art, the creative atmosphere and for sure, the delicious cookies and candies the artists shared with their visitors.

Most of the students who attended this outing were from Asia, where the ethnic painting styles are totally different from western styles of art, so this trip offered many of us a chance to learn more about American contemporary culture. We began our visit by meeting Cathryn’s sister, Stacey Cushner, who is a charming artist and paints still objects and animals with oil. I was especially drawn to a series of works about her dog that showed dynamic motions and facial expressions.  Another wonderful studio we visited that impressed me was that of an artist who paints reflected light and scenes through cut glass. I am sure that the creativity of the work we saw will inspire everyone to pay more attention to the beauty around us. In addition, there were also several brilliant artists who shared art they created using unusual kinds of drawing materials or painted on unlikely objects. Collectively we had a visual experience that had not existed before. Photography enthusiasts also found their place. A photo exhibition called ‘White’ attracted many visitors. Close-up photographs presented white flowers in extraordinary ways.

Unexpectedly, I went into one studio where the artist was talking about some photos that were on display. To my amazement, they were shot in Beijing by his grandfather several decades ago. I instantly recognized an old black and white photo that portrayed a temple statue because it was taken near my former university. It was a magical feeling seeing something familiar thousands of miles away from home.

As we are not professional art students we couldn’t judge the art in an academic way but instead looked at it for how it made us feel. Some preferred strong comparisons of color. Some liked the quiet and peace embedded in the art. Others were touched by details in certain pieces of work. After the visit, I couldn’t help comparing the art district in Beijing to SOWA, a habit of international visitors I guess. They are quite similar to some extent, genius artists, messy desks, and incredible pieces of work.  Communication nurtures each of us, whether through art or other forms. We all loved this field trip a lot and it was interesting to learn more about American culture.