My name is Andy Weeks and I am an Arts Administration major, focusing on Leadership Studies and Community Arts. I am originally from the Seattle, WA area, but I have also lived in Basel, Switzerland, Washington, DC, and Barrington, IL. As a non-Christian at a Presbyterian University, adjusting to the culture was a unique experience, but in the end, it pushed me to research and provide resources for interfaith and identity expressions of all types. My hope is to, through the use of art and community arts, continue to foster communities of diverse thought and inclusivity at colleges and universities. Through non-profit work or through helping write policy and legislative documents, I wish to help change curriculum to be more inclusive around the United States.
Interfaith education and interfaith outreach has become a foundational aspect of my Whitworth experience and personal research. During the spring of 2020, Whitworth was slated to host an interfaith conference in coordination with the Neighborly Faith nonprofit (a subsidiary of the Interfaith Youth Core). Sadly, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, this conference has been postponed, but that did not stop our team from creating branding for the event which will still take place in the future.
The first piece, the Whitworth Interfaith Coalition Logo, combines multiple aspects of historical religious artwork, as well as language that ties it back to Whitworth’s specific vision for the university. The black text around the outer part of the logo is Pseudo-Kufic text, meaning an imitation of Arabic cursive script which was primarily used as decoration during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The interior of the logo is primarily meant to depict a cross, with the multi-colored design referencing the biblical message of hope and promise (Genesis 9:13). Finally, the specific phrasing of ‘Community Building’ is in reference to Whitworth’s vision to create “an inclusive university community fostering in our graduates intercultural competencies and civic engagement for lives of service in a diverse world”; a statement which speaks to core beliefs in Interfaith education as well.
The second piece, the Interfaith Dialogue Poster, is used in conjunction with the logo for the Interfaith Coalition in advertising the interfaith conference. This piece, similar to the logo, references Whitworth-specific language while displaying interfaith ideology.
In continuing with my research on Interfaith Education, I conducted multiple informational interviews with students, faculty, and staff at Whitworth. The purpose of this project was to better understand the views and understanding of a variety of people with different backgrounds and positions regarding the topic of Interfaith Education and what that specifically means to them. The conclusion I came to through this process was that most people have little to no understanding of how interfaith topics would need to be implemented in order for it to be successful curriculum at colleges and universities. My understanding of this topic informs my belief that in order for the education of any identity to be successfully developed and implemented, it must be a part of every aspect of campus life. From club events, integration into every academic field, and even through to the mission and vision of the university; everyone must be on the same page about the intentions of the interfaith curriculum deployment. It is my hope that in my career I will be able to advocate for these developments within curriculum at colleges and universities as it is a vital aspect of an education of mind and heart.
Building community is a foundational part of Whitworth culture and it is brought into every aspect of campus life. This year, as the Design Editor for the Whitworth Natsihi Yearbook, this was the overarching theme that was identified for us by our Editor in Chief, Madisen Montivino. Running with this concept and the visual component of the campus map, I designed 6 spreads to match the divided sections of the book. These titles, Place Making, Academic Buildings, Community Spaces, Athletic Fields, Residence Halls, and Beyond Campus, are lined up to guide you through important aspects of campus life and identify Whitworth’s intentional community building attitude. These designs were originally created digitally, but screen prints show the standalone compositions, not distracted by other elements from the yearbook spreads. These graphics are taken from the actual Whitworth map, but highlight the specific sections of campus that are big parts of Whitworth’s Culture. The overall title, Place Making, was identified as an alternative phrasing of “community building” and is a key phrase that is used in academic research on topics concerning campus life in the United States. A lot of thought went into the conceptualization and creation of these pieces and they underwent much trial and error before reaching the final iterations. The result is my series of 6 unique Whitworth campus map designs, all of which will also appear in the 2019-2020 Whitworth Natsihi Yearbook, the printing of which has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Topics that have interested me and influenced my artwork have encompassed many academic fields. The main thing I have come to recognize about myself is that, though strenuous at times, the research used to discover meaning within the work I create is the most impactful part of the creative process. I never really know where these theories will take me, but the ability to quickly edit and create art in large quantities is what mainly drew my interest towards screen-printing.
Printmaking has been the most influential studio course that I have taken during my career at Whitworth, influencing the research and interests I have continued to pursue. Being given the option to repeatedly take the class for credit has only aided my effectiveness in creating and developing ideas through the printmaking process.
The prints included in this post are one of the initial trial-and-error process prints I went through to learn about the relationship between different 2D objects. They explore how orientation can change our perception of the objects. The initial idea was that these different shapes would help create a perceived 3D cube on the 2D page. Most of the research I did on this topic took me in the direction of phenomenology and Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, as well as artists Josef Albers and Robert Mangold. The combination of these sources and the creative process is what led to different iterations and designs in this series, as well as influenced my need for in-depth research throughout my creative process. This impacted not only my artwork but also my entire Whitworth experience, making the liberal arts experience even more crucial for my education.