This summer, Augusta University was represented on a national stage at the prestigious Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York.
Chautauqua is a not-for-profit institution where “approximately 7,500 persons are in residence on any day during a nine-week season, and a total of over 100,000 attend scheduled public events. Over 8,000 students enroll annually in the Chautauqua Summer Schools which offer courses in art, music, dance, theater, writing skills and a wide variety of special interests.”
Two Augusta University alumnae, Hannah Schelb and Nicole Arnold, were among 38 students accepted into Chautauqua’s visual arts program from June through August, according to Brian Rust, professor of art at Augusta University. Rust also taught sculpture classes at the Chautauqua Institute this summer.
Schelb focused on ceramics and Arnold on painting. Artists enrolled at the Chautauqua arts school received their own studio to work in and had access to communal studios.
In order to attend the art program at Chautauqua, Schelb quit her job. She put all her belongings in storage and moved to Chautauqua for the summer.
“I’m pumped to be in a new environment, working with different artists and being around creative energy,” Schelb said. “I’m excited to be in a place where they’ll be doing art work, critical thinking and critique. I’m excited for that input into my work and to give input into others’ work. I’m excited to exercise my brain.”
Schelb and Arnold were taught by faculty who are “represented in major museums and galleries throughout the world.”
“The level of people they’re bringing, from national and international artists to musicians and journalists, is incredible,” Rust said. “It’s intellectually an amazing place.”
Rust compares Chautauqua to a summer camp for adults.
“It’s an intellectual Disneyland. There are lectures, workshops and classes going on of every conceivable kind. They have weekly classes you can take on everything from crafts, cooking, acting and computer skills. There’s a dance school, music program and a visual arts program.”
This is Rust’s second year teaching at the institute. He has previously taught ceramics classes alongside Raoul Pacheco, assistant professor of art, humanities and ceramics at Augusta University. Rust enjoys his time teaching at the institute.
“It is a place that is all about learning and creativity,” he said. “It inspires you to try something new and to push beyond what you know. Our art alumnae did very well in the competitive environment of the art school. The school inspires both innovation and production. It is a place to get things done.”
In addition to teaching sculpture classes, Rust also showed his personal works at the Melvin Johnson Sculpture Garden, an outside art museum at Chautauqua.
“The photos are part of a series I’ve been doing,” Rust explained. “It’s a series of photographs where I’m working with a sign company, and I’m getting the photographs produced on a large scale. They’re all natural objects, for example: a bird’s nest. These are photographs designed so that they’re also kind of sculptural. You can see them from the sides and they’re built like steps so, in order to see them, you have to get right in front of them.”
The sculptures were on display in the sculpture garden through August. Rust is now making plans to display the one of three sculptures on Augusta’s Summerville Campus. This particular sculpture has a direct connection to the history of the armory. It contains photographs of old pottery shards collected at Augusta University. Rust obtained the shards from the archeology lab.