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Art, wood tech students collaborate on exhibit
Robby Raio (left) and Sam Galliart inside the Harry Krug Gallery in Porter Hall.

Art, wood tech students collaborate on exhibit

In many ways, the Pittsburg State Department of Art and wood technology department could not be further apart.

The art programs are housed in Porter Hall on the west end of main campus, and the wood tech programs are inside the Kansas Technology Center, located near the university’s eastern boundary.

Art students tend to live in the abstract, while wood tech students focus on the functional.

They don’t often think the same, dress the same or even talk the same. Their worlds hardly ever collide.

“It’s not too often you see craftsmen and artists working together,” said Robby Raio, a 2016 graduate of PSU’s Department of Art 

Bridging that gap was the inspiration behind the “Home” exhibit currently on display inside the Harry Krug Gallery in PSU’s Museum of Art. The exhibit features seven pieces designed and created by teams of PSU art students and wood tech students.

“We were hanging out last spring, and Robby mentioned something about collaborating on an exhibit,” said Sam Galliart, a senior wood technology major. “I thought it would be interesting to have that experience, that new perspective. Wood tech students don’t often think about creating art pieces for an exhibit.”

Galliart and Raio recruited nearly 20 students to work on the project, which was planned and created outside of their regular course schedule.

“This wasn’t for a class project or for course credit,” Raio said. “It was strictly for the experience. It was for the experience of having people from different areas come together to work on a project.”

Working in teams of two or three, the art and wood tech students collaborated on both the design phase and the construction phase of the pieces.

“What was interesting about this project was seeing how being around someone who thought in a different way than you could spark new ideas,” Galliart said. “For someone like me who works in wood tech every day, hearing the artists’ perspectives and ideas was fascinating. It opened my mind to new ways of thinking.

“It was an interesting challenge and a great experience to work with people from different backgrounds,” he said. “Through this exhibit, I’ve made lifelong friends that I’ll talk to for the rest of my life.”

And that, Raio said, is why art is a vital component of society.

“Art can stimulate ideas and make people contemplate things that they might not have otherwise thought about,” he said. “So this project wasn’t as much about bringing art and wood tech together as it was about people in general coming together and learning from each other.”

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