This is how we roll: Claudia Wilburn organizes community colossal prints event

It was a crisp, clear spring morning as Studio Art Program Director Claudia Wilburn sat perched atop a steamroller – just another day at Brenau.

Wilburn and her students organized Brenau University’s first Colossal Prints event on March 23 along Brenau’s Green Street side of the Gainesville campus, outside the John W. Jacobs Jr. Business & Mass Communications Building. The event was an opportunity for local high schools and the public to learn a bit more about colossal printing.

“This is basically a giant, informative print day,” says studio art major Samantha Corey, a junior from Suwanee, Georgia. “This is professor Claudia Wilburn’s specialty, and she’s basically running the show.”

Wilburn says the event will occur biennially and fits perfectly with the community outreach objective of the new Center for the Arts & Design at Brenau, which was developed this spring. The printed images on muslin or paper varied in subject, from two hands reaching toward each other to Wilburn’s own print of the “luckdragon,” which she then donated to the Trustee Library.

Claudia Wilburn, left, and Kasie Alt, center left, hold Wilburn’s print of her “luckdragon” with her husband Ben Truesdale, he Colossal Prints printmaking workshop at Brenau University on Friday, March 23, 2018.

“The community-building aspect of this event, both internally and externally, was fantastic,” Wilburn says. “I loved the initiative and participation of everyone involved. There was great energy all day, and I am very thankful for that. Not to mention the block designs were also pretty stellar,” she says of the carved woodblocks the groups provided in advance and helped to print during the event.

Participating local schools and organizations included West Hall High School, Gainesville High School, Gainesville Middle School, North and South Forsyth High Schools, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier and the Georgia Art League.

The Colossal Prints printmaking workshop at Brenau University on Friday, March 23, 2018.

“We are basically steamrolling giant colossal prints made out of these wood blocks,” says Miriam Murphy-Gary, a junior from Bogart, Georgia, majoring in psychology and minoring in studio art. “We’re teaching high schoolers about the process, about cutting paper and fabric, making sure everything is measured correctly and that rolling the ink is going correctly. And we’re honestly just having a really good time.”

Clay Sayre, Gainesville High School art teacher, called the experience eye-opening for his students.

“I think you can tell them you’re going to use a steamroller to print, but they don’t get it until they see it in person,” he says. “Plus they’ve had the ability to sort of pitch in with the other schools and the Brenau students, and I think that’s a great opportunity for them.”

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