Art and Design Students

Art and Design students again featured at Sycamore Light Depot Show

For the second straight year, the Sycamore Depot Light Show featured the artwork of NIU School of Art and Design students. Saturday night, May 19 the outer walls of the historic Sycamore Train Depot were transformed by artwork depicting the 25 year history of the DeKalb County Community Foundation and original artwork created by NIU Time Arts students.

A new addition to the show this year was one titled “DeKalb County By Drone” that was presented inside the Depot in The Freight Room.  The indoor show used drone footage to “fly”viewers through every corner of the county capturing its beauty and featuring famous landmarks.  The show looped for nearly two hours before the outdoor show began.

NIU School of Art and Design senior students Kate Keeling and Alec Bourke worked on working on the light show for more than six months as  interns with the DeKalb County Community Foundation.  They met regularly with representatives from the DCCF to work out the concept and design.  Keeling and Bourke created art and animations to depict the work of the DCCF and original artwork as well.  Students in the NIU Time Arts course Introduction to Video Art also created pieces for the show.

Bourke said the work he and Keeling did was to interlace two “halves” of the show together.

“The other year that this was done it was mostly abstract art,” Bourke said.  “Our job is to have that, but to try to tie it back to DCCF and what they’re doing and tell their story, but still make it entertaining.”

Keeling said, “It’s a celebration of the community and everything they’ve done.  It’s a party, so we made the show fun for everyone.  The building is the old train depot, and so we use that as a metaphor, with the trains being what connects the community together.”

The light show ran about 40 minutes, and featured some original music written by Bart Woodstrup, Associate Professor of Time Arts at NIU.  Woodstrup conceived of the Depot Light Show and secured a grant to make it possible two years ago.  This year he used funding to acquire the drone for the Time Arts program used to shoot the aerial footage for the indoor show.

“Getting the drone was key,” Woodstrup said.  “It’s something the program needs,  It’s become an expected skill for our students to have.”

The drone arrived in September and after getting some training from the NIU Drone Team and NIU Multimedia and Video Producer Danielle Guerra, Woodstrup set out to get footage from all over DeKalb County including iconic things like the Sycamore Pumpkin Parade and the Jonamac Orchard Corn Maze.