From the Winter 2019 Collegian | Both the city of Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama celebrated 200 years of history and culture this year. The College of Arts and Sciences is proud to have been a part of several events and projects that honored the past and looked towards the future.
Tuscaloosa Students Showcase 200 Years of History
Students from around Tuscaloosa county recently transformed Bryant Conference Center into a time-traveling trip through Tuscaloosa, showing off their skills in a project that encapsulates the city’s 200-year history.
The event, called Tuscaloosa Through Time, brought together students of all ages and schools to create displays, videos, skits, and other interactive presentations that showcase different decades in Tuscaloosa history. Each school was assigned a different era to explore, and presented to over 10,000 of their fellow students over the course of three days.
“We put together a committee, and we had participation from teachers and administrators from both public and private schools, so it felt like we had a nicely well-rounded education committee,” said UA history professor and education chair of the Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Commission, Dr. Kari Frederickson. “We started meeting as a committee, just for the expo, in December of 2017. And we asked every school in the system if they wanted to participate, and all 26 schools said yes, and then we assigned each school a period of Tuscaloosa history.”
Each school received a grant of $2,500 from the commission, which they were allowed to spend however they needed to create their project. Some schools painted giant murals and created lifelike displays of business and house interiors, while others had interactive STEM-based displays that showed the technology of the time. While each school took a different approach to its display, they all incorporated students of every grade level.
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UA Artists Contribute to Alabama Bicentennial Celebration
University of Alabama art and art history students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been intensely involved in the state of Alabama’s 200th anniversary celebrations over the past two years.
Alabama History in High Relief
UA Professor Craig Wedderspoon is designing a sculpture to be part of Montgomery’s Bicentennial park project planned for the west side of the Capitol building to be unveiled in December, with help from assistant professor Jonathan Cumberland. Wedderspoon is also designing, supervising the cast of, and installing Tuscaloosa artist Caleb O’Connor’s 16 bronze panels’ bases. Cumberland recently joined the team to work on graphics for the project. Wedderspoon is also working with O’Connor on a Tuscaloosa Bicentennial sculpture to be installed at Manderson Landing on the Black Warrior River.
Artists Featured in Publication
Fifteen faculty and alumni of the department are included in a special bicentennial publication honoring notable Alabama artists: “Alabama Creates: 200 Years of Art and Artists,” published by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and UA Press. The coffee-table book will be published in July. Dr. Elliot Knight, ASCA’s new director and a UA alumnus, was the book’s chief editor and project director.
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