Students at the University of Rhode Island had the opportunity to share their concerns for the future with one another through a unique medium.
On a wall in the Fine Art Center hang pieces of papers with the word “when” written in different sizes, fonts and shades of darkness. This has been adequately named the “When Wall.”
The “When Wall” was created from drawings done during an art class last week. According to Professor Michael Yefko of the Art and Art History Department, the exercise encouraged the experimentation of line weight contrast, size contrast and density contrasts.
“The insistence on vertical, horizontal and diagonal was intended to create and architecture of the space for meditation of the meaning of the word when,” he wrote in an email about the project.
Yefko also explained that the wall is an example of public art that invites interaction with the audience.
“We want to give the entire URI community a place to post their when concerns,” Yefko said. “The times we are in are filled with sadness and worries that might be creating many questions about the future.” Yefko added that it is important to create a space for people to speak their voice and their worries.
“The arts can be a catalyst for social action,” Yefko said.
Senior fine art and English major Chloe Zoglio added her “when” concerns to the wall when she saw it. She said that the wall allowed her to share some of her deep thoughts without exposing her identity. It allowed her to “blow off some steam” and connect to her peers
“It made me feel like there were other like-minded individuals out there wondering the same things as me,” Zoglio said. Zoglio added that she felt a little exposed after posting her sticky note on the wall but she also felt better from it.
“It felt a little bit like a conversation that I really wanted to have except with a wall,” she said. “Weird, I know. But overall beneficial for sure.” Zoglio added that what captivated her about the project was the fact it wasn’t used in an inappropriate sense.
“There was a danger with the project, a respect it required of the students,” she said.
“The when wall is like an urgent train of thought that could apply to topics racing through anyone’s mind at any given moment,” Tatiana Trebisacci, an Art BFA major, said. She added that if it helps students express their concerns then she believes it is beneficial.
Yefko also said that “there is only one question. Only one answer. When!”