Grab your beads and forget your troubles: Saturday afternoon unleashed a feast of crazy hats,…
On a blustery night in May, more than 300 people showed up at the Sycamore Depot (now home to the DeKalb County Community Foundation) for a unique night of art presented by students from Northern Illinois University.
Using a series of projectors carefully calibrated to the contours of the 135-year-old building, the class of 25 students presented a series of short videos that often incorporated the building into their design.
Known as “projection mapping,” the process has been around for years, but is currently booming (Lady Gaga incorporated it into her David Bowie tribute at the GRAMMYs). The growing popularity of the art form engaged the students, who were taking a class in beginning video production, as did the prospect of presenting their work in front of an audience.
It was a lot of pressure on students learning a new skill in a short amount of time. “I only gave them about three weeks to work on the projects,” he says.
As for the audience, Woodstrup notes that drawing a crowd for an art exposition can be a challenge. “It can be very difficult, especially in the Midwest, and that can be disappointing for students.”
As it turns out, the Sycamore native need not have worried on either count. The student projects ranged from fanciful to historical to psychedelic, and all were engaging and well-received. As for the crowd, it was everything Woodstrup had hoped for: “It was so satisfying to see such a big turnout, and everyone seemed to have a good time.”
The program, funded by a grant from the Speiser Family Foundation, was supposed to be a one-time event. However, based on the reception of the community, and the excitement of the students, Woodstrup hopes to repeat a version of the project elsewhere in the future.
“Not only did they get to show off their work, it compelled students to get out and meet, work with and mingle with a nice cross section of the community,” Woodstrup says. “In this age of Internet, smart phones and video games, it is easy to become introverted, so I think it’s important to provide these types of opportunities.”