DHH, Hillside, McNair and Wads each have their own distinct characteristics. DHH, for example, is a building of history and it shows through its structure and aesthetics. Wads, offering a wide variety of spaces for students, is not only much larger than the other residences, it is the most up-to-date of the dorms. Hillside is different because it offers students a feel for apartment living on campus. McNair, with its narrow hallways and east and west wings, is another atmosphere in and of itself.
What’s missing from these buildings? McNair and DHH in particular have outdated furnishings in some areas, including artwork and decorations. What is needed are relevant masterpieces to decorate the walls, showcasing Michigan Tech and its students.
Raven Rebb, a Software Engineer in her fifth-year at Michigan Tech, began Create McNair during the fall semester of 2012. “After living in McNair for a few years I had seen the same art over and over again as I walked by. I wanted new works of art and thought why not from people living in McNair?” said Rebb.
Using Facebook as a tool, Rebb set up a page where students could upload their images. Everyone was then invited to vote on their favorites. Rebb adds, “We did photography, digital art, drawings, paintings and other media categories. Once the deadline for submitting art came, voting started. Votes were based on the number of likes an image received. After voting ended we printed the images and hung them up.”
Create McNair was the first kind of its kind for Rebb to have done. “It had some challenges but I just started writing down what I wanted to see and the best way to get it done,” she said, nodding to Katy Bird, her supervisor, for support and advice. Other staff members also helped by encouraging residents to participate in the program.
Expanding to include other types of art, Rebb and Travis Pierce, Director of Housing and Residential Life, along with Jeremiah Baumann, Coordinator of Marketing and Multimedia for Housing and Residential Life, and Dan Bennett, Director and Chief of Public Safety and Police Services, organized a photography workshop.
On Saturday, Oct. 5, over 30 people signed up for the workshop. There was, however, only room for 16 participants. That day, the group visited various locations in the Copper Country, including Hungarian Falls, Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and the Copper Harbor outlook atop Brockway Mountain to take photos and learn about the art form. Images students took during the workshop are currently hanging in the newly-renovated area in DHH.
Create McNair, like any art project, is still a work in progress. Rebb worked to hang the favorite pieces of art herself, which has been the most rewarding experience of the project thus far. “After it was complete, it was really cool to listen to people commenting on the art and how cool it was,” Rebb adds.
“While we have yet to set the dates, we are planning additional photography workshops,” said Pierce. Potential topics for future workshops include night photography (including light painting), travel, studio and additional landscape photography opportunities.
Rebb plans to expand Create McNair to each of the other residences on campus, creating Create DHH, Create Wadsworth and Create Hillside. Rebb said, “We have many open areas with blank walls left that we could fill up. [Another] goal is to have a continuing change in art and encourage students to create new pieces. Once we have new images this year, we will replace last year’s and give the prints to the students who created them.”
**Add contact info for workshops and Create McNair here