Sac State studio art students get needed equipment and community from in-person classes


Milan Cabebe

Studio art major Jessica Wolfe and other advanced ceramics students create pottery for their next class project. All students sit at least six feet away from each other at their pottery wheels during class.

Milan Cabebe and Khalil Bourgoub

A handful of Sacramento State art classes are being taught in person this fall and while some people may frown upon this fact, the students and staff of the school’s advanced ceramics class are grateful for this opportunity. 

Studio art classes suffered after transitioning to virtual learning in the middle of last semester, said Jessica Wolfe, a senior majoring in studio art. She said that Sac State has resources on campus for students to use to complete their art projects such as pottery wheels and kilns, which are difficult for them to have at home.

Studio art classes such as advanced ceramics are being held in-person this semester so students can work on their projects with proper safety precautions. These precautions include spreading students out between the two different art rooms, keeping plenty of hand sanitizer accessible and requiring everyone to wear face masks, ceramics student Zoe Wagner said.

“In my opinion, I don’t think we’re really at risk if we’re all following the rules and the guidelines that they set in place,” Wolfe said. “But it’s definitely more beneficial for us to be back on campus and to be in this environment again.”  

Professors are now able to upload lectures and lessons online for students to watch before coming in for studio class time, studio art professor Scott Parady said. In some cases, Wolfe said, having online lectures has been beneficial because they get to learn about what they will be doing in the studio before showing up and working. 

“We’re 100% in class, at least as far as our meetings go,and then we’re supplementing all of the demonstrations,” Parady said. “All of the instruction is being recorded on video on canvas, so they can actually watch things that might normally take up class time ahead of time. So when they come in, they can be more ready to start and more prepared.”

Even though student interaction is limited due to social distancing protocols, one of the reasons art students like Wolfe are happy to be back in the studio is the sense of community.

“One of the main components of taking a studio course is the community and being able to have feedback on your work and not necessarily stealing ideas from your peers but gaining perspective from your peers as they work,” Wolfe said. “Being at home alone and not having the surroundings, not having that atmosphere, it can feel a little bit isolated.”

Wolfe said other studio art students such as oil painters would have it hard if classes weren’t at least partially in-person because it’s hazardous to work at home without the proper ventilation  required and ability to dispose of hazardous materials.

 “I can’t have these [pottery] wheels and kiln at home because I’m in a small apartment, so I wouldn’t be able to have the same type of equipment,” Wolfe said. “I’m reliant on these spaces right now, and last semester when we were shut down, all of the studio spaces that I could’ve gone to outside of school were closed as well, so I was just kind of stunted.”

Aside from art majors taking these classes to complete their degree, students like Wagner are taking studio art classes to have a creative outlet within their busy class schedules. 

Wagner took her first studio art class, beginning ceramics, last year, and said she is appreciative that Sac State allows hands-on studio art classes to be taught in person this fall.

“Doing something creative changes your whole mind and makes the rest of your grades better because you’re engaging in something else, you’re taking out that stress,” Wagner said. “So that’s why it’s really important that we still have these classes, not just for the [art] majors, but for everyone.”

Other studio art courses being taught in person this fall include beginning, intermediate and advanced-level classes of printmaking, ceramics and sculpture. 

“We are all happy to be here, we all want to continue to be here,” Wagner said. “Everyone who’s here is safe, willing to work and willing to work safely.”