HUNTINGTON — On a normal day, Marshall University printmaking students are tucked away up on the third floor of the Visual Arts Center quietly making their latest works of art.
But come Sunday, a near Herd of 13 students will be making prints loud and proud down on the street teaming up with West Virginia Paving Inc. to steamroll giant 4-foot by 4-foot woodcuts on campus for an upcoming art exhibit.
Marshall University's School of Art and Design is hosting this steamroller printmaking from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, in the parking lot between INTO Center and Gullickson Hall on the Marshall campus. In case of rain, the event, which is free and open to the public, will be rescheduled for Nov. 11. There will be potluck-style snacks and music. All are welcome.
The art works, which will be printed on fabric and paper will be used for an upcoming exhibition that will run from Nov. 17-27 at the new Alias14W gallery that is located at 720 14th St. W., Huntington.
Part of an upper level class, Relief Printmaking, in the printmaking program, the project was organized by Sarah McDermott, assistant professor of printmaking in the Marshall School of Art and Design, and carried out by the students: Katy Adams, Tyler Adkins, Paige Bowen, Adriana Carpenter, Kelsea Helmick, Savannah Hunter, Sarah Kennedy, Sa-Rai Robinette, Casey Smith, Madi Spangler, Jessica Sturgell, Emily Thrain and Kylie Woodford.
McDermott had taken part in similar steamroller art events in other places including the University of North Florida, where she taught before coming to Marshall.
"I have been part of these kinds of events in other places and it was a super-fun way to make the public aware of what printmaking is," said McDermott, who taught in the Art and the Book M.A. program at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design of George Washington University. "It's pretty engaging and active and weird because no one expects these blocks to be printed with a pavement roller."
While normally students choose their own topics for making their art, for this project, McDermott thought it would be interesting to do some cross-pollination with the MU College of Science, after chatting with Chair David Mallory.
"I think this is a great cooperative effort between our two departments," Mallory said. "The visualization of science by artists is exciting and can lead to both practitioners of both disciplines seeing each other with new eyes."
After getting positive responses from the various professors, McDermott said each student then went and interviewed a faculty member or graduate student in the natural sciences or social sciences and made a design in response to their findings.
Kylie Woodford, who is actually a chemistry major with an art minor, interviewed Nicholas Bolin, a graduate assistant, who is investigating the demography of eastern hellbender populations in West Virginia. That salamander species can grow up to 2 feet long and has long been studied at Marshall,