Three large, white tents set up around campus are creating a new learning environment for the College of Arts and Sciences.
The three tents — one outside of Stillman Hall, one on the South Oval across from the Ohio Union and one at the Browning Amphitheatre near Mirror Lake — are being used to house classes, rehearsals and exhibitions, according to the College of Arts and Sciences’ website.
Each tent is managed by a different department. The School of Music and Department of Theatre manage the Browning Amphitheatre tent, the Department of Dance manages the tent on the South Oval and the Urban Arts Space manages the Stillman Hall tent, according to the website.
Emily Oilar, operations manager for the Urban Arts Space, said her organization installed the tent as a part of their Hybrid Arts Lab — a multi-venue teaching lab that includes the tent, the Hopkins Hall Gallery and an online platform on the Urban Arts Space’s website.
“We need to have spaces that are not just safe to make art, but are also conducive to collaboration and experimentation,” Oilar said. “The tent is a very big part of that. It’s really allowing us to collaborate and experiment with our teaching and learning and creative activity in a safe, and for lack of a better word, fun way.”
Roger Beebe, a professor in the Department of Art, teaches film and video classes in the Stillman Hall tent. He said there are adjustments that he and his students have had to make with class being in an outdoor setting, especially when it comes to noise.
“I could project. I could give a lecture. I could just plow through some stuff, but when I wanted to hear their voices, that was the challenge outdoors,” Beebe said.
Despite the difficulties that come with outdoor classes, the Stillman Hall tent has provided students with the ability to showcase their work in a new way.
Graduate student Lydia Smith said that she, along with fellow graduate student Miranda Holmes and members of the Department of Art’s second-year Master of Fine Arts cohort, co-curated their “24-Hour Drama” exhibition using the Hybrid Arts Lab in a last-ditch effort to find a location to share their work.
“I think the key thing for the tent was that it allowed us to have boundaries for the exhibition for the work to be in there and protected the artwork because there was a covering,” Smith said. “But ultimately, it was outside so the air was flowing, people could leave if they wanted to. It was very clear to see how many people were in the tent and if it was going to get crowded. The visibility and layout felt very clear. It felt safe.”
Smith said she believes that conducting work in the tent is just another challenge for students to face and conquer.
“The tent — although it isn’t like a traditional gallery space — I think the best way is just to work with it and respond to it and see what happens,” Smith said. “It’s another challenge to be thrown at us and it’s not something to shy away from, but rather be creative with.”