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The Language of Art

UMD Students at glassmaking studio in Sweden
May 18, 2018

UMD students explore art and design in Denmark and Sweden.

Tony Reamer is in the center of a language maelstrom. He's a senior studio art major on his first visit to Denmark and Sweden and is surrounded by hundreds of people from different countries. "The majority of people we've met speak English, but at very diverse levels of fluency," he says.

Tony Reamer

Tony Reamer

"At the skate parks I visited and on the streets, I was most impressed with people's ability to communicate in a non-verbal manner with me and I with them."

Art and design is the topic of the program but living in a diverse world is the biggest lesson. "In the museums, we stand alongside people speaking all kinds of languages, from Chinese to French to Arabic. Somehow the art speaks to us all, and we find ourselves, as one, delighted by bright colors or delighted by unexpected movement.

"At the end of the day, we all long for connection with one another despite language, age, or social barriers. In many ways, we are all constantly speaking the same language with our body language, verbal signals, and how we actually speak what we are trying to say," Tony observes. 

Twelve students are joining program leaders, School of Fine Arts Professor Alison Aune and UMD writer Cheryl Reitan. They are adding photos and stories to the website every day. Read their reflections on the Swedish handwork called hemslöjd, sustainability, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, and more.

In Falun, Sweden, a folk artist reflected, "All the over the world, folk patterns are speaking the same language." The group agreed that folk patterns, art, and design bring the world together. 

In addition to Tony, the UMD students are: Ashley Antus, Amy Bendtsen, Tanner Frondell, Gianna Jubie, Alyssa Larsen, Aaron Lind,  Sara Minder, Morgan Muehlbauer, Olivia Ridlon, Karley (Nyhus) Schoenberg, and Claire Weyrauch.

Learn more about the UMD Department of Art

Nordic Art and Design Program 2018 website

Art work by Tony Reamer

Art work above by Tony Reamer