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Students protest ceramics relocation

EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Rachelle Angle-Cheney, an art history senior, points out her favorites from the collection of miniature statues to Carly Plaskett, an art education and studio art senior, and Amanda Thompson and Wasilia Yapur, both seniors majoring in Spanish. The sculptures were placed behind the Administration building early yesterday morning to protest the ceramics department's mid-semester move.
By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, May 4, 2004
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Ceramics students set up 600 clay figures to protest spring break move

Ceramics students set up nearly 600 clay figurines behind the Administration building yesterday to show their unhappiness with the UA administration's decision to relocate the department in the middle of the semester.

Rachelle Angle-Cheney, an art history senior who headed the project, said she wanted to exhibit ceramics students' frustration with the move.

"It feels like our education was not what was important," she said.

The statues were assembled around planters and up the stairs of the building to make the statement that the department, though small with only 61 students, is still here and should not be ignored, Angle-Cheney said.

"It says we are here, this is us, be careful not to step on us," she said.

The department was forced to move six weeks ago from an old adobe church at 1200 N. Mountain Ave to the Esquire Apartments, 1230 N. Park Ave, the former home of Arizona Student Media. A cooling plant near the church is being expanded.

Angle-Cheney along with her fellow classmates created all the abstract figurines. She also set up a booth in front of the Center for Creative Photography to get passersby to help her with the project entitled "The Student Body."

Angle-Cheney said although administrators promised everything would be up and running after the spring break move, there are kilns and other equipment that are still not working.

Students' work is being ruined and causing a lot of frustration, she said.

She said she is far less productive in the new space as well, which is a major hindrance as a graduating senior trying to assemble a portfolio.

"I get half the work done than I would in a regular semester," she said. "I paid full tuition, and I'm not going to get my money back."

Ken Angle, the artist's father, said he appreciates and understands his daughter's artistic statement and hopes it will make the administrators realize what they have done.

"Everyone suffers from student frustration in getting a degree," he said. "It seems at times that administration is not receptive to what students are saying."

Carly Plaskett, a studio art and art education senior involved in the project, said the piece has been helpful in voicing the concerns of the department.

"The great thing about art is it gives you a voice to speak about things," she said. "The good thing (about this project) is the dialogue it has created. There was a lot of miscommunication about the move."

Juan Garcia, vice-provost of academic affairs, said he appreciates the statement made by the students and thinks that it was a good expression of the students' frustrations.

"I think it was a great way to communicate their concern, and very creative, too," he said.

Garcia said the administration is sensitive to concerns raised by students and departments during moves, but it is hard to please everyone.

"We try to do it as smoothly and sensitively as possible, but sometimes these things, no matter how well you plan them, can inconvenience those involved," he said.

Brady Cheney, the artist's husband and a political science junior, said he was unhappy about the abrupt move and thought it could have been postponed.

"I don't see why they couldn't wait two more months when everyone could have been out," he said.

William Anderson, a biochemistry senior who passed by the artwork, said he was receptive to the work, despite not knowing the meaning behind it.

"It was the first thing I noticed on the way to class, I made sure not to trip," he said.

Angle-Cheney said the installation will be on display until tomorrow.

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