“Hearing how they didn’t see photography as an art form because it lacked the touch of a hand such as painting was enriching,” said Schlesinger, who got her Master of Fine Arts from UNC. “It was profound to hear about their ideals of art and listen to the changing attitudes and perceptions.”
Opportunities to interact with artists in the community can broaden a student’s perspectives and encourage learning beyond the classroom. Many UNC art professors are deeply involved in the local arts scene and eager to involve students in their projects.
“There’s a long history of the faculty looking for and finding ways to bring art and make art happen in the Triangle as well as across the state,” said Jim Hirschfield, the art department chairman.
Hirschfield once led a service learning class to write a master plan for art in Chapel Hill, which the Town Council consulted when allocating budget money for the arts.
“The students had a major impact through that class on the town’s art plans,” he said.
While Hirschfield works to have an impact through planning and policy, slavick includes students in her projects to invigorate the local arts scene.
Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet, a UNC graduate, was involved in slavick’s project to transform the old Chapel Hill Public Library into an exhibition space in 2011.
“One of the things elin does really well is she activates the community, so we had a lot of artists who wanted to be involved,” she said.