Sterling Hundley is leading a new class here at VCU called Hearth: The Embedded Visualist, and it is by far the most difficult to explain (and this is coming from a student whose freshman year course load included classes called “SPACE”, “TIME” and “SURFACE” (not to mention English class that was renamed “Focused Inquiry”.
Hearth is a based on a combination of health, community and art. The fastest method I’ve found to ease the confused expression on my friends faces when explaining my course load is to recite the following: We give our time to the community by volunteering, further our education through research and then use our experiences to inform our creations. For example one could visit a children’s hospital, shadow a doctor, learn about a specific procedure and make a children’s book about the different steps that a patient will take over the next few months in preparing and recovering from the operation. The artist has something for their portfolio, real life experience to draw from and the hospital has a product to show patients, who in turn will be more mentally prepared for their surgery. Everyone wins.
So far, we have gone as a class to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Historical Society, the Flood Wall and the Library of Virginia. A smaller group of my classmates and I also took a tour of Churchill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT). This week we will continue to outline our plans for using this experiences, decide what to make, and start to create it.