Maclay’s 2D Studio Art class expanded their horizons this past month with an out-of-the-box commission. Parents and coaches of the Maclay softball team had been looking for a new exterior for the Lady Marauders softball dugout, which has had the same design for at least five years. Maclay athletic director Harold Hilliard, a parent of one of the softball players, specifically reached out to the art department to get one of the classes to design a new exterior for the softball dugout. 

The art department chose the 2D Studio Art class as the one to head this project, which is a course encompassing visual arts that can be created in a studio, such as painting, drawing, photography and more. With this new opportunity, students in art will be able to practice design skills and learn how to approach real-life projects. Additionally, as possible future artists, participating in a commission is a great way to gain clientele and recognition. Having to follow an outline and a criteria for a project teaches the artists a skill that they will likely have to apply in their art careers. Even without the artistry aspect, this project presents an opportunity for students to be given an innovative outlet and the freedom to think creatively on how they can fill the space. 

When the students were asked to each make a design, they looked through the Maclay style guide, which is a pamphlet that provides students an understanding of how they should use logos, colors, fonts and overall style to represent Maclay. Beyond the Maclay style guide, students were free to give any flair they wished to their design that would be appropriate and relevant to the dugout. 

“For my design I really wanted people to look at it and know exactly what it was and who it was for. For that reason I really wanted to make sure I included the lady marauder and a softball somewhere in the final design,” freshman Grace Koeppel said. “I spent a couple days picking images and colors and then editing. The hardest part was definitely figuring out how to work photoshop; that was a serious struggle. In the end though I was really happy with my design and I thought it was really cool that the school was asking students to try and design the dugout.”

After each student made a design, the softball players’ parents and some coaches voted on their favorites. Sophomore Ilana Rachin and freshman Grace Koeppel were tied as the favorites, so Sarah Painter, the teacher of the 2D Studio Art class, came up with an accommodating solution. 

“I took elements from each one to make a new design that was a blend of both,” Painter said.

Although the designs were made by the students, Painter was the one who painted the dugout, as this was a project that would be on display to the entire school. With her background in murals, she had the skill set to complete the dugout. The dugout was finished on February 17, on the day of the softball team’s first game. This was a perfect time to not only reveal the new dugout to the team, but also the parents and coaches who requested it.

The dugout should be refreshing for the players as it had been unchanged for many years. 

“I think that the new design on the back of the dugout brings more attention to the field with the larger and more defined text standing out against the white background,” softball team captain Ashlyn Gooch said. “As a player, I enjoy having the new design because it draws attention to the field and shows the Marauder spirit.”

By letting art classes design some of the edifices for athletic teams, Maclay bridges the different respective studies and extracurriculars. As seen with the input from the softball parents and coaches, it engages sports teams to work with the design departments and vice versa. Additionally, involving the students in the design gives them real life experience to make something from a request, thus practicing how to create art relative to a topic but with their own creative style. The dugout project experience could open doors to new ways of formatting buildings to match the student body and their unique styles.

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