UVSC drafts nude-modeling rules

Published: Wednesday, March 26 2008 12:14 a.m. MDT

OREM — The nude modeling program in the art and visual communication department at Utah Valley State College has been reinstated after a two-week suspension during which department administration drafted rules.

Up until now UVSC's nude modeling program had no official guidelines. Most colleges and universities have specific policies regarding nude modeling, and this protects the institution, said UVSC art professors and instructors interviewed Tuesday.

"Not having a policy puts the school at risk. It is now taken care of," said Patrick Devonas, art instructor at UVSC. He added having the policy also keeps the procedure professional.

UVSC's newly drafted guidelines include no photography of the nude models. Also, no UVSC students may serve as nude models.

There have been a few incidents at UVSC where a regular nude model didn't show up for work so a student in the art class would simply step in.

Eric Arballo, 22, of Provo, a junior majoring in fine arts, said he volunteered to pinch hit for a nude model once and didn't think it was that big of a deal.

"It was a little bit awkward because I see these people every day," Arballo said. "It may have been more awkward for the class."

He said he thinks the freshly implemented nude model rules are "reasonable but not absolutely necessary."

Angela Fischer, 38, of Pleasant Grove, a sophomore majoring in art and visual communications/graphic design, said she believes the new rules are reasonable.

"I could see where it would make some students uncomfortable to be around somebody they know personally (and who is posing) nude," Fischer said.

UVSC art professors and instructors interviewed said there is no specific incident that was the impetus for implementing the guidelines, nor was there any recent public outcry against nude models in general.

"I'm not aware of any incident," said Bob DeWitt, UVSC professor of fine art and art history.

DeWitt said he and other professors and instructors helped draft the guidelines, along with department chairman Steven Bule.

The nude models are used in two upper division art classes, meant for art majors at UVSC: Fundamentals of Figure Drawing and Figure Structure.

Don Seegmiller, who teaches an art class at UVSC, said using nude models is for advanced students — and drawing nudes is serious work. "People who haven't done it don't understand it," he said.

Seegmiller said the wife of one of his students was upset over her husband drawing nudes so they invited her to class to draw. She showed up and drew but was rather bored after realizing it's a very serious, professional atmosphere with no talking.

Artists and art instructors explain working with nude models helps students learn the basic physical structure of the human form.

DeWitt said, "They (students) need to be able to see the total anatomy to be able to understand the anatomical structure and represent that accurately."

UVSC student Trent Bates, 23, of Lindon, a junior majoring in photography, agrees many people don't understand an artist's craft.

"How important is Michelangelo's 'David'?" Bates said. "You take away the nude aspect and what do you have?"


E-mail: astewart@desnews.com

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