WLU’s Media & Visual Arts plan collaborative use of Topper Day of Giving Donations



Flyer created by Department for Media and Visual Arts for Topper Day of Giving

West Liberty University’s WLU Foundation is hosting its annual Topper Day of Giving on April 6, 2022. WLU’s Media and Visual Arts Department within the College of Liberal and Creative Arts is planning to use the funds from the day of giving and the faculty/student Art Auction to give back to their students in a collaborative way. Art Auction bids close on April 6, 2022, at 4 p.m. Donations made through the Topper Day of Giving link end April 6, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. All donations must be made prior to the closing of the links (links provided above.)

The department of media and visual arts is asking for everyone to join them for their first-ever online art auction, which helps support the department in their micro-campaign during Topper Day of Giving. The money raised will be used to transform the “lifeless” MAC Lobby in WLU’s Fine Arts Building (FAB). Updates will include new furniture, new tables, installation of white and tack boards, as well as a new TV for student and faculty use among other needed upgrades.

Generous donations over the years have gone towards necessary classroom updates such as “equipment purchases to make sure we have basic tools, chairs, tables and supplies for students and faculty,” said Dr. Martyna Matusiak, chair of WLU’s department of media and visual arts. However, the MAC Lounge is being made a priority within the department funds this year.

“Student spaces like the Mac Lounge were neglected” and “seen as ‘just a bedroom’ in the FAB,” Matusiak explained. “We would like to take advantage of this space in-between classrooms where so much learning and interaction can take place,” Matusiak said. Communications, art, design and media students all use the lounge to work. Being able to see the students “empowered” and “embraced” by the new design and flexibility of the new lounge is something Matusiak and everyone in her department hope for during this year’s day of giving.

Brian Fencl, professor of art at WLU, says the FAB was built with the idea of media convergence in mind. “We saw this coming back in the early 2000s,” Fencl said after discussing the convergence between arts, communication, media and visual arts. “Being able to take that space, update it, and really make it reflect this combination of what visual arts and media is these days is really a bonus for us,” Fencl explained. Having communication, music and art students together in a collaborative space creates a “creative vibe” that is “good for everyone” in Fencl’s eyes.

Taking in student and faculty suggestions, Matusiak and others in the department dreamed of ways to make the MAC lounge a “more usable, functional and flexible modern space with resources for students” for years. Saying this should be a space where students can work on their presentations, art work, display art, practice speeches and hang out with friends, Matusiak emphasized the importance of every student in media and visual arts having the opportunity to work together in an area that is inspiring and relaxing.

The update to the lounge would not just affect current students but also prospective students. Potential students visiting the university start their tour in the Mac Lounge, which Matusiak says is in “desperate need of a facelift.”

Moonjung Kang, professor of visual communication design at WLU, says her biggest motivation in getting this lobby updated is the benefits for students. Students tell Kang the MAC Lounge is the best spot to work and collaborate in groups within the FAB. “Many students dream of having that space updated to better network and create a community,” Kang said. The lounge currently is not offering a space for students to do that, Kang says. The MAC Lounge is also in the middle of all the classrooms and faculty offices, which Kang says puts in in the “perfect” spot for students to spark up their creativity.

“Anything that creates productive, more efficient spaces is really a big deal for us,” Fencl said. He continued saying that many people view the library as a place where students can go and “think deeply and work.” But with it being on the opposite end of campus, it is not an ideal area for media and visual arts students. “So, having the MAC Lobby [lounge] be a place where a student can go and sit, and focus and work, I think will help with efficiency.”

Matusiak, Kang and Fencl are not the only faculty members within the department who see the need for an updated lounge. Sarah Davis, associate professor of graphic design at WLU, has already seen the impacts the potential update to the lounge is having on students saying she “loves” seeing all the activity happening in the lounge.

“Students are coming in and interacting in the space in a different way because they can imagine what they want,” Davis said. Emphasizing on the impacts of the pandemic and the physical distance, Davis says more students are wanting to work together and collaborate. And while the department has been using the lounge to work the best they can, the space needs updated. “It needs updated because the way we use space is very different now than it was even five years ago,” Davis said, adding “students need charging stations… we need a space that can move and change and accommodate different types of group settings.”

If you are interested in supporting WLU’s Department of Media and Visual Arts in their micro-campaign of updating the MAC Lounge in WLU’s Fine Arts Building, there are several ways you can help.

Visit the art auction website, by following this link. If you’re not interested in making a bid on art, you can simply donate by visiting the WLU’s Department of Media and Visual Arts Topper Day of Giving website by following this link.

Dr. Martyna Matusiak and the entire department of media and visual arts are grateful for all donations. Matusiak says, “Every dollar makes a difference.” For any questions, please reach out to Matusiak at [email protected]