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Student Art Association offers new classes; names interim coordinator

Clay Ward
Clay Ward

Chinese brush painting, nature photography, creative imaging, Majolica decoration and Japanese raku clay-firing technique are some of the courses offered this spring at MIT's Student Art Association (SAA) under the leadership of interim coordinator Clay Ward. Workshops in imaging and raku are among new courses offered in addition to the traditional classes in drawing and painting, photography and ceramics.

In the imaging workshop, participants will experiment with darkroom methods and monoprint techniques. Those in the raku workshop will explore an ancient Japanese firing technique and assist in reassembling and firing an outdoor kiln. The technique, Ward explained, uses oxidation-reduction reactions to create chaotic, or wabi sabi, surface patterms.

Birds will be the focus--literally--for participants in the nature photography workshop this semester. For an additional charge, students can also go on an optional spring break field trip to the Florida Everglades.

Ward, who received the S.B. from MIT in 1997 and the M.F.A. from the Parsons School of Design in 2000, came to the SAA in December. He succeeds longtime director Ed McCluney, who is pursuing an acting career in California.

Since his arrival, Ward has been overseeing the cleaning and upgrading of SAA facilities and planning for the spring semester. "We're pulling every little thing off of every shelf and finding all the dirty treasures," he said. As interim coordinator, he hopes to "expand the [SAA] program while strengthening the basics."

"I spent a lot of time working here as a student, usually when I was supposed to be doing something else," said Ward. "Getting the chance to help run the place is a lucky thing."

The SAA is open to all members of the MIT community. Access to the studios is available 24 hours a day, and participants are encouraged to develop some new skills or refine some old ones in an open, unpressured environment.

Spring course listings are now available at the SAA bulletin board in the Infinite Corridor, the SAA offices in Room W20-429, the Office of the Arts in Room E15-205 and online at Classes begin Monday, Feb. 9; registration is open through Feb. 13.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 4, 2004.

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