Bachelor of Fine Arts students face challenges in online classes amidst pandemic


John Ramirez

Arts and Humanities Building at Chico State. Some BFA art students have found the transition to online teaching difficult since they no longer have access to studios.

For every student at Chico State, the COVID-19 pandemic has created much concern and uncertainty as every department has taken a hit in the last few weeks. This, of course, includes the many students pursuing a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts that now have to transition into online lectures.

Geoffrey Bark, a junior BFA student, described the transition from mostly in-studio classes to online.

“All of our classes became completely online … and the medium that (professors) are teaching relies heavily on the studio,” Bark said. “For instance, I’m in a printing class and a lot of things that we were going to do in that class we’re not doing anymore because we don’t have studio access.”

Bark, a digital printmaking artist, explained how art students are able to do their work without the luxury of a studio workspace.

“I prefer to work at the studio or the library because it’s easier to concentrate on work,” Bark said. “Basically all the art students have turned to makeshift art studios at home.”

He suggested that an important thing for fellow students and student art supporters is to pay attention to social media.

“I guess the best support is if we post anything online, if we sell anything online to support that,” Bark said.

Marlee Braxon, another student who recently showcased her art in an open gallery commented on the current situation and how even art students can bring more creativity out of this state of emergency.

“The BFA students had their own studio space so we all had to go get our stuff out of it before they locked it,” Braxton said, who is now using her home as a workspace, “but I’m pretty fortunate that I’m not crammed with roommates or a small space.”

Braxton said that during this time, many student artists will have to “get used to working by yourself at home and motivating yourself because that’s what being a studio artist is.”

“I’ve been really unmotivated and uninspired,” Braxton said, “but a lot of people on social media have come up with cool drawing challenges which has been really cool in terms of having fun.” 

She added, “I hope everyone is staying positive and having fun with their artwork and trying to stay on track the best they can.”

As many art students have turned to social media to share their work with the public, it’s important now more than ever to support them. More about Braxon and Bark’s work can be found on Instagram @swagmastermarls and @gbark712.

Danielle Kessler can be reached at [email protected] or @reserv0irpups on Twitter.