One Million Bones: UT students take part in nationwide projectWritten by Erik Gable | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A number of University of Toledo students are part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness of genocide by displaying 1 million ceramic bones on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The One Million Bones project is being undertaken by the students in UT’s Arts Living Learning Community, which provides an intense academic and residential experience for first-year students interested in the arts, with help from the UT College of Innovative Learning.
“The point is that each bone is representing a life,” said Kate Abu-Absi, director of the Arts Living Learning Community.
The bones made by the students are scheduled to be displayed April 5-6 at the UT Student Union before being taken to Chicago, where they will be added to a display at Columbia College Chicago. The eventual plan is for bones from smaller-scale projects around the country to be displayed in Washington, D.C., during the spring of 2013.
“Next spring, when this art installation happens, they’re going to be able to say ‘I’m a part of that,’” Abu-Absi said.
Jeanne Kusina, a professor in the College of Innovative Learning, said the One Million Bones project got under way locally after Ames Hawkins, a professor from Columbia College Chicago, gave a presentation at UT about it. She said the project gives students a chance to integrate hands-on art lessons with other subjects.
“We’re combining academic studies with hands-on art making,” Kusina said.
Kusina said there can be a sharp contrast between the work itself, which is mentally challenging and sometimes fun, and the seriousness of the underlying subject.
“They do have a real reverence and respect for what they’re doing,” she said of the students.
Students are both honing their artistic skills and learning how to organize a large-scale installation, Kusina added.
“So they’re also picking up some professional skills at the same time,” she said.
Megan Valley, a freshman from Cleveland who’s part of the Arts Living Learning Community, said she enjoys working on a project that has significance beyond the UT campus.
“It’s a really fun experience to get together and be a part of something bigger than just ourselves,” she said. “It’s really nice to be a part of something this large, just as a freshman in college.”
Abu-Absi said the public is invited to come to a bone-making night from 7:30-10 p.m. March 15, in the multipurpose room of UT’s Ottawa East residence hall. Although some students have been making more intricate pieces like skulls, she said, many bones are simple enough for a novice to make without much difficulty.
“You don’t have to be an artist to make a simple clay bone,” she said.
Kusina said there are between 30 and 35 core students involved in the project, although more have been volunteering to help. The initial goal was to make 1,000 bones, she said, but the students may end up making more.
Kusina said students responded enthusiastically to the project.
“They’ve really exceeded all of my expectations,” she said.
For more information about the One Million Bones project, visit onemillionbones.org.
To learn more about the project at UT, email Abu-Absi at email@example.com.