On the Ground: Hands-on Experiences in Graphic Design at Wolf Hall
At first glance, York College of Pennsylvania may look like a typical campus in a typical college town—but look a little closer, and you’ll discover a community full of hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems. In our On the Ground series, we explore some of YCP’s most meaningful places and spaces with help from our own Spartan students.
Minerva Carchi-Nieves ’22 has a personal connection with Wolf Hall.
“Any area in that whole building is just memories,” she says.
Minerva, who is a Graphic Design major graduating in December, came to York College because of its emphasis on hands-on learning.
“I feel like if I were to have gone to art school, which is so much bigger [than York], I probably wouldn’t have gotten noticed,” she says. “I probably wouldn’t have gotten any of the feedback I usually get in my classes [at York]. It’s very personal at York—especially with our professors.”
“When I was younger, I liked the idea of me being an artist. My grandmother used to paint a lot, so I saw that growing up and I [thought that this] could be an option for me,” Minerva says. “But I feel like it was a cultural thing in my family [regarding] what you can do with art as a career.”
She then heard about the Graphic Design program from a friend in her First-Year Seminar (FYS) program.
“He was telling me about the program…and I was a little jealous, [because] that seemed like a lot of fun,” Minerva says. “I was totally convinced that I would like it.” After talking to her friend, she made the switch to Graphic Design.
As a Graphic Design student, Minerva spent the majority of her time at York in Wolf Hall. In fact, she helped Dr. Troy Patterson, who runs the Letterpress Studio, set it up during her time as Wolf Hall’s work study.
“I think it was 2019,” she says. “I was asked to help Troy Patterson move [the studio] to Wolf Hall because it used to be at Marketview Arts, and I [think] that area was too small; they wanted to expand it more. I was there for days cleaning with some help, and then [I would] help Troy Patterson package everything up at Marketview Arts and bring it to Wolf Hall.”
Cleaning the studio was not an easy endeavor.
“It took days. We got to the point where we didn't think we were going to get it done in time. I think it was winter break or summer break because then the next fall I had taken Letterpress [as a course],” Minerva says. “So I was probably one of the first students to take Letterpress when it was back in Wolf.”
She especially appreciates the Letterpress Studio for its physical aspects.
“The Letterpress Studio is definitely an area where I would push [new students] to try and come to our school,” she says. “We have a whole bunch of alphabets of different type—like how you see typefaces on your computer? It’s basically having [the typefaces] physically as a piece of wood, and putting [them] together, designing, [and] getting your ink. It’s totally different from doing everything digitally. It gives you that sense [that] you’re actually doing the craft with your hands.”
Minerva also highlights how the Printmaking and Photo Studios also allow for physical engagement.
“You think of some type of [project] to cut up, and then you ink it up and then you put your paper on it,” she says. “It’s super fun. I’m actually taking an Editorial Photography class next semester, so I’m excited to be in [the Photo Studio] a lot more…and focus on my photography. [The Photo Studio] is a great place for students who are taking photography classes, or any student in our program who wants a professional setup to work with.”
Minerva also appreciates having an art gallery in Wolf Hall.
“When we become seniors, we get to do our exhibitions,” she explains. “[It’s] pretty cool to at least have that on your résumé and say, ‘Well, I’ve had my own exhibition here at York College Galleries.’”
Overall, Minerva describes her experience at Wolf Hall through the Graphic Design program as very positive.
“It's just that building. I really don't know how to explain it, but you really feel like you belong there,” she says. “I don't feel like that anywhere else on campus, where I feel [that] [these are the] people that know exactly what I'm doing.”