MCC art students send out ‘little messages’ to the world at Plaza Art Fair

Some tiny pieces of art made a big impact at this year’s Plaza Art Fair.

For a second year, Metropolitan Community College’s booth offered an interactive art-making experience. In class, MCC art students from the Blue River, Longview, Maple Woods and Penn Valley campuses produced about 200 “art trading cards” including these (all original pieces) …

… which were on display in the booth. MCC-Blue River art coordinator DeAnna Skedel instructed students to think of the artworks as “little messages in a bottle.” What small message would they like to put out into the world?

Visitors to the Plaza Art Fair booth could peruse the student art and, using blank cards, make their own. They could then trade the artwork they’d just created for one of the student pieces or for one made by another visitor.

MCC-Maple Woods art instructor Carlos Bass at MCC’s booth at the Plaza Art Fair

Skedel, who coordinated the project, said visitors to the booth created almost 2,000 mini-masterpieces over the weekend (Sept. 21-23). Meanwhile, nearly 400 brochures about MCC arts programs were handed out.

“We had families that remembered us from last year and spoke excitedly about how they still had our students’ work on display in their homes,” Skedel said.

MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty stopped by, too, but “she nearly missed us because our booth was so full of children and families.”

Dr. Beatty noted later that “our booth was full of families participating in interactive art activities while other college booths were empty. This was a perfect example of serving communities.”

The MCC booth’s neighbors at the art fair included the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Skedel said MCC can be proud of how well we represented ourselves, and she thanked fellow art faculty members and other volunteers including students.

The trading cards created by our students illustrated their generosity and generated excitement among visitors to the MCC booth, Skedel said. “Creativity is primarily a practice, and creativity and flexibility are often mentioned as the most desirable of job skills,” she added. “I am so proud that we had such a wonderful opportunity to practice this with our students and our community.”

More scenes from the weekend:

MCC-Penn Valley art instructor Darlene Town with visitors to the booth
MCC-Longview art instructor Dan Reneau
MCC-Penn Valley art instructor Bernadette Torres

Related (from 2017): Art trading cards created by MCC students can now be found all over town