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Book examined through lens of art

Come April, students will paint, dance and recite poetry to interpret the words of a book.

For the second annual Creative Works Showcase, the USF Library and the Office of Undergraduate Studies is encouraging students to artistically convey the themes of the Common Reading Experience (CRE) book “Full Body Burden,” by Kristen Iversen.

“Full Body Burden” chronicles Iversen’s experiences growing up next to a nuclear weapons facility. Students will touch on the book’s themes of secrecy, family and the environment as inspiration for their projects.

Audrey Powers, an associate librarian at the College of The Arts, said the success of last year’s showcase helped with the decision to bring it back this year. 

“Last year, the students that participated in the showcase and had their works in the Centre Gallery, it gave them an opportunity to learn how to hang a show,” she said. “What we noticed was they were so excited about the whole process, about creating the work, about hanging the show, about having people, including their friends and family, come and see what they did.”

Last year’s showcase used prompts created by creative writing students. Other students responded to these prompts, filling the Centre Gallery with video, paintings, prints and sculptures.

This year, students will work as individuals or in groups to respond to a theme from “Full Body Burden” through visual art, dance, video, theater, music or creative writing. 

After choosing an art form, students will then work on their projects with the help of a USF faculty member who specializes in the chosen art form.  Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Janet Moore said she believes this assistance will help lead to students creating stronger skits, sculptures and other works.

“We’re excited about it because we have six faculty that are experts in their fields … so this is an opportunity for students to have … that know that they have some abilities in certain art forms to have private work with the mentoring that they are going to do,” Moore said.

Students not only hone their artistic skills, but compete for prizes as well. Over $500 in prizes will be given to the works considered best in show.

Once students have completed their projects, they will present them to the public. Visual art will be hung on March 28 in the Centre Gallery and presented from March 30 to April 10. Performing art will be presented in Theatre 1 on April 2.

The book itself is accessible to all students, Powers said, with many copies on reserve in the library, as well as e-book copies.

“We hope people give it a try,” she said. “I think they’ll realize that it’s a wonderful way to express themselves.”