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Students Learn the Art and Skill of Collaboration

January 2014

Students Vanessa Burnett and Kelsie Moore in Denmark Students Vanessa Burnett and Kelsie Moore traveled to Denmark as part of a Laycock Center project to produce material to support this fall’s Sacred Gifts exhibition at the BYU Museum of Art. Both are excited for BYU to host this exhibition of religious masterpieces.

For student Vanessa Burnett and graduate Kelsie Moore, the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration in the College of Fine Arts and Communications has proven to be a “sacred gift.”

The 10-year-old center promotes collaboration among faculty, students, and artists. It was instrumental in Burnett’s and Moore’s efforts to create communication materials for the Museum of Art’s new exhibition, Sacred Gifts, which opened November 15 and focuses on the religious art of Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann, and Frans Schwartz. (See sacredgifts.byu.edu.)

To prepare for the exhibition, Burnett and Moore were part of a group that traveled to Europe to see the origins of featured artwork and to talk with the curators and pastors who know the art best. The exhibition’s explanatory videos and tours are the product of this team’s collaboration.

Burnett says it’s hard to express the complete joy and personal growth she gained from the experiences she had in Europe. “I connected with people not of our faith and was able to express my appreciation and excitement to host these masterpieces of the Savior here in Provo.”

Burnett, an advertising student who will graduate next year, says the Laycock Center has provided her with rewarding experiences: “Before this new exhibit I was a student director for the Beauty and Belief exhibition at the Museum of Art. I learned how to conceptualize, develop, and produce the digital elements to bring that exhibition to life. As I’ve collaborated with other students like Kelsie my perspective has grown, and I’ve become wiser.”

Moore agrees. A recent BYU graduate, she also participated in several Laycock Center projects, allowing her to take hold of her education and use it to its full advantage.

“Getting involved at the center put my talents in the limelight and allowed me to grow and express myself in new ways,” says Moore. “Working with others at the center helped me realize how my job and my testimony can interact. These projects have helped me better appreciate my testimony and my relationship with God.”

Focusing on the big picture

The Laycock Center was created with a gift from an anonymous donor to honor George Elijah and Fern Redd Laycock and their children. (See the Laycock Center information page.) Jeff Sheets, director of the center, says that students are at the heart of everything the center does.

“Our core aim is to develop the next generation of creative leaders,” says Sheets. “We invest in mentored learning and push the boundaries of student engagement. We begin to see more than just award-winning creative projects; we see collaborative people like Vanessa and Kelsie develop the spirit, intellect, and character that will influence and inspire the world.”

Burnett says the efforts of Sheets and his colleagues are producing their intended outcomes: “My skills and experiences grow with each Laycock Center project. I always learn something powerful or insightful. My education has molded me into a well-rounded, creative-content designer. Jeff Sheets and the faculty members from the college have helped all of us students push the limits of our ideas and produce powerful work.”

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