Right Now - The World Needs Art

Right Now - The World Needs Art

Romance of the Land, #midwest #landscape #scenicview

March 30, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. – A global pandemic isn’t keeping Vincennes University students and professor Arthur Fields from creating art. They are keeping their art flowing in the age of the coronavirus, and VU’s community is encouraging everyone to create art.

Arthur Fields

Arthur FieldsWe need art now more than ever.

“It gives us a creative escape,” Fields said. “People don’t realize how the humanities and art calms people down. It gets people thinking about things that aren’t so serious. You do have a lot of people who are making art that change lives and are really about important issues. But it allows you to think freely and think outside the box.”  

Art is everywhere in our daily lives. It makes life more enjoyable, relieves stress, and promotes creativity. It can take us to a different space and help shape our ideas.

Halie Riffett

Halie Riffett“I believe that art can be so powerful and so inspirational,” said VU sophomore art major Halie Riffett of Valparaiso, Ind.

“That if we show people there is more than isolation, it could change everything. It's amazing what a little bit of color can do.”

Fields, an assistant professor and director of the Shircliff Gallery of Art located on VU’s main campus, is emboldening his photography students to use their skills as a distraction in our current world.

“I told them to make interesting images and to shoot what they know,” he said. “Some of the projects are going to be fun and a diversion of getting away from the news, TV, and those other screens. They get to go outside or shoot inside, however they feel safe. I told them to use it as an escape to get away from reality when necessary.”

Photographs courtesy of Arthur Fields 

Romance of the Land, #midwest #landscape #scenicview Romance of the Land, #midwest #landscape #scenicview

Despite the current upheaval, Fields is maintaining his practice of shooting photographs daily.

“I collect images,” he said. “Every day, I shoot something no matter what.

“A lot of my work deals with everyday life…landscapes, the scene, community, the houses, and the culture. I photograph throughout Vincennes, Knox County, Southwest Indiana, and Illinois, and I photograph my surroundings. Most of my work deals with everyday situations.”

Romance of the Land, #landscape #nature #trees

Romance of the Land, #landscape #nature #trees
He uses a smartphone to capture images.

You can see his work on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/artfields/ or  https://www.arthurfields.net/.

“I tell my students it doesn’t matter what camera you use,” he said. “Just as long as you know how to use whatever camera you have, and the best camera is the camera that you have on you at all times.”

A native of Texas, Fields got his first camera at age six. It was natural for him to get one. His mother is a photographer.

“I’ve always done it (photography), but I didn’t think I could make a living doing it,” he said. “It was just for fun.”

Fields shoots images of his adopted town everyday. His latest work, My First City, is a selection of the ordinary scenes of Vincennes, Indiana through the eyes of a collector. Acting as both curator as well as image-maker, his latest work consists of grids of images, sorted using hashtags, [identity markers] that represent a modern take on  the "genre painting" as it relates to his personal Vincennes experience. He is concerned with choosing, organizing, editing, and remixing, to better understand the collective cultural experience of Indiana's first city.

Fields began his college career as an English major. He later became a corporate trainer for a restaurant chain. He also conducted graphic design training for a major accounting firm. Never abandoning his love of photography, he went back to school to pursue an undergraduate degree and earned a Master of Fine Arts. Fields describes himself as a conceptual photographer, who wasn't interested in a career in commercial photography. He chose to become an educator to maintain that love.

“All of my family are teachers, so teaching came naturally,” he said. “Training, development, and teaching people came natural to me. You have to figure out what you’re good at and follow your heart.”

Exhibit - Installation shots of the Connections exhibition at Shircliff Gallery of Art

Exhibit - Installation shots of the Connections exhibition at Shircliff Gallery of Art
Fields is passionate about art and artists.

He says there are ways to support artists who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Fields suggests people purchase art from artists. If that is not possible, he says support them any way you can, such as promoting them on websites or encouraging others to buy their art or bartering for various services.

“Reach out to artists and find out what they need,” he said.

Artists have always turned to their creative practice when faced with social change and upheaval.

Individuals can benefit from art on both physiological and psychological levels. With art as a form of expression and release, instances of depression and stress are significantly reduced.

The VU Art and Design Department kicks off its community art’s activities by encouraging members of the Vincennes community to unite and share their artistic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to see creative images that celebrate our community!

Present whatever art making process you enjoy, share your talent and passion by submitting to this community showcase. Use the hashtag #VUartcommunity_live to be featured in our Instagram feed.

Art courtesy of Halie Riffett

Art courtesy of Halie Riffett

 VU students are encouraged to share their art via social media using the hashtag #VUsmart (VU Students Making Art). Fields plans to post their creations on social media.

“We want to motivate and promote art making in everyday life,” Fields said.

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. VU offers online degrees and classes to students who need access to college courses and flexibility through its Distance Education.

A leader in dual credit and career and technical education statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 36 other states, and 21 other countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at www.vinu.edu.


Vincennes University Newsroom

MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director

812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell, VUNews@vinu.edu, mmartinez@vinu.edu

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom