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Art exhibits were collaborative effort

Crystal Rose and Barbara Hunt with the student exhibit You Cannot Put the Same Shoe on Every Foot, in the Hodgett Library.

By Pamela Gill

You can see more than books at the Ferriss Hod­gett Library. Crystal Rose, public services librarian, and visual arts professor Barbara Hunt worked together to organize two unique art exhibits in the library during the winter semester.

In April, students in Ms. Hunt’s Creative Practices/3D Foundation class displayed their mixed media shoe project on shelves normally reserved for books. The project involved making a pair of shoes that were different from each other but reflected a relationship between each shoe.

Ms. Rose, a former docent with the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, was invited to the class to give a special presentation about shoes. Inviting the students to exhibit their work in the library seemed like the perfect fit.

The library acquired books to assist students with the project.

“The students loved the books on shoes,” said Ms. Hunt. “I am always trying to get my students to do more research, so I think having books like these that really interest them is a great start to getting them into the library to research their other projects as well. I brought the books into every studio class, and students used them as a resource and for inspiration.”

Two pairs of shoes were especially appropriate for display in a library. One pair, by Cynthia Dunphy, was made entirely out of recycled paper from children’s books and newspapers.

“When I heard that my shoes were going to be displayed in the library, I was pretty excited,” said Ms. Dunphy. “It seemed fitting to have shoes made from reading materials displayed among all the books. The library is a good spot for them, because people actually stop and read about the projects instead of just wandering by.”

Another pair by Candace Cunning was inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird. The shoes referenced a quote that in order to understand another person, you have to walk in their shoes. Ms. Cunning invited people to write on her shoes what difficulties, challenges, or pain they had encountered.

“I think for my project, which needed the help of others to finish the conceptual part, having them on display really helped,” she said. “It meant a lot to come in and pick them up and see that people had done so.”

Some of the things written on the shoes included “betrayal,” “culture shock,” “moved 21 times now,” “losing Africa,” “deceit,” “cheating” and “homesickness.”