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.