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Interactive Art This summer Russ Bellamy will be teaching the topic course Interactive Art, and it is a class that he is very excited about, due mainly to the fact that it will be open ended, allowing for limitless unknown potential. Students will be permitted creative freedom in this course, which makes the artistic possibilities endless.

The class, according to Russ, should “widen their [students’] understanding of the possibility of what art can be…I do not dictate what their projects will be.” With just five students, there will be a chance for the entire class to work on a project together and then complete one individually or in pairs. Group projects provide an opportunity to experience a collaborative environment and Russ believes that it often takes the work of several people to create work that is truly exciting.

Students can turn to other artists, such as Paul McCarthy, Xu Bing, and Bill Viola, for ideas and maybe a deeper understanding of what interactive art can be. While this may provide inspiration, the goal ultimately is for the students, whether through their individual or group project, create something that has not been done before.

Installation Art is a course that Beacon College Studio Arts majors are very familiar with, and there is a very thin line between interactive and installation art, but even then they are very different. Installation art has an inherent interactive component while interactive art permits a wider interpretation. For example, creating a mask and then wearing it around would transform a piece of sculpture into interactive art. Elements of interactivity are incorporated into all of the classes Russ has taught at Beacon, though this is the first time for this to be the main focus of the course.

Artists can interpret and bring people into their work any way they choose. Russ looks forward to seeing how the students in this course will “incorporate living entities into their creative endeavors” and says, “ I love teaching art because I have no idea what direction things will go in.”

The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to see what will come from the minds of the students. Russ always pushes for more and never lets you just stop and give into half finished work. If you happen to be on campus during the summer, stop by the art gallery and see what the students and Russ are working on. The finished group project is expected to be up during the month of May and will be taken down in June in preparation for gallery improvements.

~Heather Reed