"Our ceramics and graphic design students have been collaborating all semester to produce this creative culinary experience."

– Jeannie Hulen, event organizer, associate professor of ceramics, and department chair 

Students Fuse Visual and Culinary Arts to Create a 'Kiln-to-Table' Experience

Students Fuse Visual and Culinary Arts to Create a 'Kiln-to-Table' Experience

by Andra Liwag

Ceramics and graphic design students from two University of Arkansas art classes are joining forces with a top local culinary team to create an unforgettable kiln-to-table dining experience for Northwest Arkansas art and food aficionados alike.

The Sunday, Dec. 11 event – Artisans at the Depot: A Kiln to Table Experience – will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the first of four gourmet courses prepared by Chef Patrick Lane at Arsaga’s at The Depot, 548 W. Dickson Street in Fayetteville.

And, in a fun twist, all delicacies will be served on hand-crafted, brand-new tableware created by Department of Art students from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

“Our ceramics and graphic design students have been collaborating all semester to produce this creative culinary experience,” said event organizer Jeannie Hulen, associate professor of ceramics and chair of the art department. “Students are working on the tableware, takeaway packaging, ticket and menu design, wayfinding and many other experiential features. They are putting their hearts and souls into making this an evening to remember.”

Hulen said pieces of the one-of-a-kind, useable artware will be event keepsakes for the Artisans at the Depot diners, and additional ceramics pieces, tableware, apparel and goods will also be available for purchase.

Ceramics junior Helen Williams helped create some of the event’s unique dinnerware, and said her hope is that “people pick them up, turn them over and explore all the colors and textures. The ceramics are there to complement the beauty of the ingredients that are served on them, and the food provides a use for the art.”

For ceramics and painting senior Madelyn Hewins, “great food tastes even better when it’s served on whimsical, colorful tableware,” became a guiding mantra as she worked on creating a unique collection being featured in the event.

“When food is served on something handmade it changes the entire experience of eating,” she said.

Marty Maxwell Lane, assistant professor of graphic design and co-organizer of the event, said students from her Design for Good class have also been working hard to create this memorable evening.

“They have been working on the event’s logo and branding, menus, apparel, environmental graphics and more,” she said. “We wanted the students and diners to see first-hand how experiential design can aid in creating the conditions for a top-notch dining event."

Lane said all proceeds from Artisans at the Depot will support summer scholarships for art students. The scholarships help students attend a variety of competitive, prestigious residencies at places like Arrowmont, Penland, Mildred’s Lane, Anderson Ranch and Thrive Design studio. Scholarships also allow students to study abroad in locations like Rome.

During Artisans at the Depot, Hulen said Chef Patrick Lane’s menu will include beer and wine, a playful starter, seasonal salad, hearty main dish and luscious desert.

Working with local businesses and artisans in the community like Chef Lane has been another part of the project that resonates with students like senior Madeline Lowe, who is studying ceramics and photography.

“It has been an incredible opportunity to work with a local business as loved as Arsaga's,” she said. “The integration of art and food is seamless, and the food being created by Chef Patrick Lane is as much a work of art as the ceramics and designs created for the event.”

For more information, please email ceramics@uark.edu.

About the Department of Art: The mission of the Department of Art in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is to offer the highest quality educational, research, and service programs in the visual arts. These goals encompass the department’s professional and liberal arts programs, at both graduate and undergraduate levels, in art education, art history, graphic design, and studio art to prepare students for graduate study and meaningful employment in the art and design fields and allied professions.

About the JWilliam Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with 19 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Andra Liwag

About the author

Andra Liwag serves as director of communications for the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.