Denison’s Department of Studio Art launches a new artist residency initiative, the Columbus Creative in Residence program. “Studio Art faculty firmly believe that students are empowered through relationships,” says Associate Professor and Department Chair Sheilah ReStack.
“The format we are envisioning for the Columbus Creative in Residence (CCIR) will permit an experience of relationship building through one-on-one interactions, as well as group meetings and events. The ultimate hope for the program is that it can begin to speak to and demonstrate the different aspects of creative practice, life, balance, and sustainability as lived experience in our mentors.”
Marshall Shorts, a creative director, and designer in Columbus has been chosen as the program’s first creative-in-residence. Shorts is the founder of Artfluential, formerly Soul Theory Creative, a design consultancy that brings culturally informed creative direction, strategy, and design to small businesses, agencies, and creatives. He is also the co-founder of Creative Control Fest, an annual conference and platform that centers on creatives of color and advocates for diversity, and of the Maroon Arts group.
“Art has always been a vehicle and a medium for me to connect with people. It has been my power, my therapy, my labor, my weapon, and much more. It has afforded me many opportunities, and a platform that I am excited to share with Denison students,” says Shorts.
Shorts serves on a number of nonprofit boards in the city of Columbus and has presented two Tedx Talks. He subscribes to the idea that “anything not designed by nature is designed by someone,” and aspires to design places, spaces, and things that are more equitable for all people.
“Marshall brings an important model of activism and creative livelihood. His work is a synthesis of design work, community building, nonprofit interaction, and freelance work,” says ReStack.
This spring semester, Denison students will join Shorts for a series of Friday lunch talks and one-on-one meetings. They will also shadow Shorts in various modes of creative work.
Shorts adds, “I am most thrilled for the opportunity to share my years of successes, failures, growth, and creative village that I have gleaned along the way. Mostly I am looking forward to the mutual exchange of knowledge and art with the brilliant students of Denison.”
“We would like, most of all, for this initiative to be a way for current students to envision ways of living, and making a living, as a creative person, post-graduation,” says ReStack. “We see this program running in conjunction with the newly instituted Studio Art Praxis in the Arts.” The Praxis in the Arts mandates that Studio Art students complete 80 hours of arts experience or mentorship before graduation.
ReStack adds, “This program will also operate in affiliation with Denison’s renewed commitment to establishing Columbus ties and presence for Denison in our closest large city. Our student body is incredibly diverse, and many of our graduates end up in Columbus post-graduation as a place to find work, engage and regroup,” says ReStack. “This post-graduation period is a critical time of needing to have continued belief and engagement in their creative selves.”
“This program will provide networks, community, and a sense of possibility at this crucial juncture. We are strongly committed to having this program specifically focus on a diversity of ways of being creative, as well as an intentionally diverse representation of people who are achieving that goal. Our most pressing goal is to provide examples of creatives working in a variety of ways and engagements so that students can envision potential futures for themselves, by witnessing the experience of others.”