Secret sketchbooks lurk around campus

Alison Rollman

Staff Writer

The Skirball’s 1000 Journals exhibit featured the story of artist Brian Singer’s global art project. The exhibit showcased one thousand journals that were distributed in various locations throughout the world and sent back to Los Angeles after a ten-year period, brimming with artwork and ideas from people who chanced upon the journals. Ms. Dori Kulwin, visual arts department chair, had been looking for an “out of the box” project for her Drawing II class, and was inspired upon seeing Singer’s project.

Similarly, Milken’s campus is now scattered with blank journals in unexpected places, courtesy of Kulwin and her class.  The empty white pages beckon creativity – whether in the form of a pencil sketch, poem, song lyric, sticker collage, or magazine cutouts. After adding their own artistry, students and faculty are encouraged to continue the chain by hiding the journals in new places or passing them on to others.

“I love the surprise element,” Kulwin said. “I love the sense of discovering something unexpectedly, and then adding your own creativity to that of someone else’s.”

Sketchbook 1

Kulwin hoped this project would engage students who are not currently involved in the art department’s formal classes, in addition to acting as a wonderful learning experience for her current students.

“My drawing class learns all styles of drawing and interpretive drawings. They keep sketchbooks on their own, so it becomes almost an extension of that, but we’re opening it up for a collaborative type of creative experience,” Kulwin said.

Just as Kulwin and her class have enjoyed hiding the journals around campus, students and faculty who have randomly encountered the journals have emitted overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“It’s exciting and thrilling to have a simple token like a book of art to connect the whole Milken community. It’s like a big secret mystery party, hiding and discovering not only the journals, but all of these creative minds and talents from people who are anonymous, yet among you,” Emma Peretz ’14 said.

Sketchbook 2

On the inside flap of the journals, a letter explaining the project requested whoever possessed a journal by early May to return it to Kulwin so that they could be displayed at the art show, May 16 and 17 2011.

As of now only one journal has been returned, but as Kulwin said, “The point of the project is to share creativity and to connect the school though this creativity, so really, whether or not the journals are returned is besides the point,” Kulwin

Until soon-approaching summer break, the journals are still lingering around campus, waiting to be filled with the creative expressions of our imaginative and insightful community.

Sketchbook 3