New stair riser artwork revealed during library open house
January 31, 2017King University's latest art project was unveiled during an open house event hosted by the staff of the E.W. King Library. The art project utilizes the risers on the staircases to showcase the spine of well-loved books.
The nine completed risers include book spine designs by senior Dyan Buck, sophomore Devonté Butler, junior Anne Franklin, freshman Minseong Kim, freshman Yesol Kwak, freshman Haewon On, freshman Yuseon Park, junior Danielle Stauffer, and senior Miles Taylor. The books spines displayed permanently in the library are (in order of display): "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift, "Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson, "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, "Night" by Elie Wiesel, "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman, "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë and "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.
Erika Brammer, dean of library services at King University, said, "Three or four years ago, a student worker shared a picture on her phone of the riser book spine idea and suggested that we should do this in the library. I thought what a neat thing and never dreamed we would be able to do it here, but [the idea] always stuck in the back of my mind."
The first set of nine risers in the E.W. King Library received the book spine artwork in December 2015 after Brammer approached Joe Strickland and Lee Jones, professors with King's digital media arts & design program, about the possibility of the risers becoming a DMAD student-led project.
"We determined the best class for the project would be the visual rhetoric for digital media artists class, which is essentially a beginning graphic design class," said Jones. "I felt this would be a great project for the students; they would have to research the material. We discussed the symbolism of the books; it also allowed the students to have a broader experience through the client – artist relationship. The first project was such a grand success, the decision was made to continue the project during the fall 2016 semester."
"To help narrow down the book choices, we set criteria such as authors from diverse backgrounds and genres. We ended up with a list of approximately 150 titles from various genres from which we would make the final selections. The King community then narrowed the field, voting for their favorites. Of the final nine book selections made, it was key for each title chosen to evoke a response and for them to be recognizable," added Brammer.
From the narrowed list of nine, the students each chose their favorite to create a riser book spine design. "One thing I enjoyed about this project was the close collaboration between the students and the librarians," said Jones. "For the students, the librarians were their client. They were able to work with them, receive feedback, and create something to the clients' specifications, which was an important part of the process for the students. The idea originally came from a student, and now students have brought it to fruition."
"I love the aspect of this project where we were able to act as the client for the students. This was a perfect example of collaboration with students to provide them with real-world experience," commented Brammer.