Defying labels & making an imprint
Defying labels & making an imprint
Dominique Hlavac

Dominique Hlavac

Dominique Hlavac is the Design Editor of the Metropolitan Student Newspaper.

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It all started with paper. My father worked at a paper mill so he used to bring huge rolls of paper home and I used to draw grow­ing up. So I’ve always had a strong love of paper,” said Amy Sands, Metro State’s new asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of Stu­dio Arts.

Sands is just the sec­ond mem­ber of the res­i­dent Stu­dio Arts fac­ulty, join­ing Pro­fes­sor Erica Ras­mussen. Sands was a com­mu­nity fac­ulty mem­ber for eight years. She teaches Intro­duc­tion to Draw­ing (ARTS 106), Inter­me­di­ate Draw­ing (ARTS 306) and Muse­ums and Gal­leries (ARTS 300). She also facil­i­tates the Exhi­bi­tion Prac­tices intern­ship (ARTS 302) in the Gor­don Parks Gallery.

As a com­mu­nity fac­ulty mem­ber, Sands taught a wide array of stu­dio arts classes at other local col­leges includ­ing the Min­neapo­lis Col­lege of Art and Design, St. Cather­ine Uni­ver­sity, Inver Hills Com­mu­nity Col­lege and Macalester College

One of the things that I find com­mend­able is that she has a wide under­stand­ing of the arts and is a ver­sa­tile teacher,” said Pro­fes­sor Erica Rasmussen

As a print­maker, Sands strives to evoke how we expe­ri­ence life through every­day objects. “I’m really inter­ested in how things influ­ence who we are as peo­ple and how that becomes a part of our iden­tity,” she said.

Her art­work has been rec­og­nized nation­ally and inter­na­tion­ally. She was fea­tured in the Tokyo Met­ro­pol­i­tan Art Museum in 2012, and in group exhi­bi­tions across the United States and Europe.

Sands has won numer­ous awards for her unique prints and has a style quite dif­fer­ent from oth­ers. “Many print­mak­ers focus on cre­at­ing edi­tions but I’m more inter­ested in the one of a kind works of art,” she said.

She feels that her work doesn’t fit into any pre­con­ceived notions of artis­tic media. “So often the art field wants to clas­sify you as one label,” Sands said. “I just don’t like labels… I think it’s a lit­tle restrict­ing for me.

Out­side of the stu­dio, she is an avid run­ner who has com­pleted a marathon. “Run­ning is really a great release for me,” Sands said. “I’m also tak­ing up a lit­tle bit of fly fish­ing, so it’s pretty fun, it’s very peace­ful too.

As a three-​quarter time res­i­dent fac­ulty mem­ber, Sands will con­tinue to teach her reg­u­lar classes, but with the added respon­si­bil­i­ties of advis­ing stu­dents, work­ing on com­mit­tees and devel­op­ing cur­ricu­lum. She is cre­at­ing a dig­i­tal arts class to be offered at Metro State in the future.

In addi­tion to these new respon­si­bil­i­ties, Sands will work with other fac­ulty to expand the stu­dio arts pro­gram. “We’ve got a new major, we’ve got a new minor. We’re start­ing to offer a lot more classes so that’s pretty excit­ing for us,” she said.

Sands wants stu­dents to know that stu­dio arts classes are offered off cam­pus too. “There’s the ceram­ics [class] at North­ern Clay Cen­ter or the book arts [class] at Min­nesota Cen­ter for Book Arts. So there’s a lot of excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to get out in the com­mu­nity and get involved and see peo­ple work­ing,” she said.

In her classes, she requires stu­dents to under­stand the tech­ni­cal aspects of stu­dio art, but also encour­ages them to develop their own inter­pre­ta­tion and style

She has the expe­ri­ence and the knowl­edge to give to young ones, but the under­stand­ing of art being expres­sive — giv­ing stu­dents a chance to explore and be them­selves in their work,” said Carly Huber, a stu­dent in Sands’ intro­duc­tory draw­ing class this summer.

In addi­tion to gain­ing con­fi­dence in their abil­ity, Sands’ stu­dents also gain a new per­spec­tive. “I cer­tainly have learned that I am much bet­ter at this [draw­ing] than I would have given myself credit for. I’m start­ing to see things in art that I never noticed before,” said Jack Hysell, a Com­puter Sci­ence major

It all started with paper. But it grew into a pas­sion — and now a pro­fes­sor­ship— for Amy Sands. A pas­sion that can be felt in her art­work, in the stu­dio and in the classroom.

Sands encour­ages stu­dents to fol­low her lead, to con­tinue to do what they love despite any doubts. “You never know when an oppor­tu­nity is going to fall into your lap or who’s look­ing at your work. You just have to keep believ­ing in your­self and doing what you want to do,” she said.

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