NCMA College Night draws hundreds

College students explored their creative sides Friday at College Night, hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Art.

The event was free and provided students with a variety of entertainment, such as the M.C. Escher exhibition, a fashion show, live music and opportunities to create artwork of their own.

“It’s a really good experience because it’s nice seeing other college students that are interested in the same things we are,” said Tony Thorpe, a sophomore studying art and visual communications at North Carolina Central University.

NC State had a large presence at the event. Students from the College of Textiles showed off their talents in a fashion show, and students from the College of Engineering had their “Infinity Cube” featured with the M.C. Escher exhibit.

The “Infinity Cube” is an art piece designed to complement “The Worlds of M.C. Escher,” which is the largest ever Escher collection in the United States. The piece is made from several LED lights in the shape of a cube, which is then inside of a box made from two-way mirrors. The lights have a series of repeating patterns that, thanks to the mirrors, seem to continue into infinity.

College Night

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“We saw the ‘Infinity Cube,’ and that was fascinating,” said Katherine Harrison, a senior studying civil engineering. “I liked how the NC State students mapped out the whole design and the implementation process, so you’re seeing step-by-step how you would do it.”

Outside, students had access to a BetaBox, a traveling makerspace housed inside of a shipping container.

“It was all about how you get people to do hands-on projects that relate to the art so people, especially young people, can connect what’s on display with the actual process behind creating some of the art,” said Sean Maroni, an NC State alumnus and founder of Betaversity.

The BetaBox offered 3D printing, laser cutting and other equipment that tied technology and the arts together.

Also outside the museum was the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Art Truck. Escher-themed patterns and designs sprawled the vehicle’s interior, immersing guests in its atmosphere. The designs lining the walls were created by a group of entry-level design students at UNC-Greensboro.

“It’s just amazing,” said Emma Deuitch, a sophomore studying plant biology and horticulture science. “Walking into this is just a whole different world.”

While in the truck, students had the opportunity to make their own prints from wooden blocks, which was one of Escher’s main media.

“We wanted to create a whole environment that is evident of printmaking and also is showing the mathematics that Escher is using in a lot of his works,” said Logan Hamilton, a junior studying drawing from printmaking at UNC-Greensboro. “I think that people are getting more engaged in the work.”

Lu Xu, coordinator of the Art Truck, spoke to the vehicle’s novelty and purpose.

“We spent a year to design the interior, and it has just been being used for two months,” Xu said. “It’s relatively new, but you can see it has a lot of potential. It just changes the way people see images.”

Students from East Carolina University and William Peace University each performed dance routines that depicted their interpretations of Escher’s works. There was also a musical performance by Sunshine Faces, a band from Chapel Hill.

“The opening dance by ECU was pretty nice. It was nice seeing a mixture between tap and other dances,” said Matthew White, a sophomore studying art and visual communications at North Carolina Central University. “It was very well choreographed.”

In the fashion show, the designers focused on incorporating Escher’s styles and themes.

Kim Ring, a senior studying fashion and textile management, made a dress as part of the fashion show.

For her piece, “Metamorphic Shift,” Ring drew inspiration from Escher’s “Metamorphosis I.”

The dress was constructed from red oak wood veneer, hand-cut into various geometric shapes. The lower portion of the dress has larger polygons, while the upper part of the dress has smaller triangles.

“For the model, it’s transitioning from this hard nature into this fluid, fitted to the body, feminine look,” Ring said.

Jacob Shindler, a senior studying fashion and textile management, created a dress called “Ad Infinitum,” inspired by Escher’s “Relativity.”

“The staircases [in “Relativity”] seem like they no end, and really no beginning because they all keep going,” Shindler said.

To bring this aspect into his own design, Shindler made the lines on the garment have no discernable beginning or end.

When asked what meaning he brought from Escher’s work, Shindler said, “Wherever you stand, you always see something different. There’s always two sides to a story.”

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