Friends and followers of the Niagara University College of Arts and Sciences and Alumni social media accounts might have seen several coloring pages featuring campus locations posted recently. Those unique campus scenes were provided courtesy of Dr. John Sauter Jr., NU’s assistant dean for Academic Affairs.
“I decided that sharing my art was one way to combat the uncertainty and stress that students and alumni were feeling when the social distancing measures first began,” he explained. “Since I am always carrying a sketchbook around, I have quite a few sketches of campus, which I have been sharing as coloring pages for mindfulness and stress relief. The connections between art, coloring, and mindfulness are things I have explored professionally as one of the founding members of the Student Affairs Professionals Art group; through presentations at the Global NACADA conferences, WNY Advising, and Rochester Area Colleges Advising Conferences; and my membership in Urban Sketchers Buffalo.”
Before discovering urban sketching (drawing on location), Dr. Sauter said he often struggled with what to draw. Since he discovered the art, however, he has never been without inspiration, and Niagara University’s Monteagle Ridge campus provides him with numerous settings to capture in his sketches, which he does primarily in pen and ink.
“My first major drawing of campus was a large print of Varsity Village House 3, designed as a benefit for the Nicholas J. Albano Psychology Scholarship,” he said. “Since then, I have been exploring Niagara by using my lunch breaks to practice urban sketching.”
Photos of his preliminary and finished ink drawings were easily converted to coloring book style pages, which he has been sharing through the @NUArtScI on Twitter and Instagram and on the College of Arts and Sciences Facebook page. The first was of the Gallagher Center. He also has done one of the Glynn Family Atrium in Bisgrove/Academic Complex, and of Monty, the university’s mascot, with St. Vincent’s and Alumni halls behind him, at the request of Jaclyn Rossi, director of Alumni Relations, who was looking for a child-focused drawing.
Students interested in learning more about urban sketching will be able to take a new course that Dr. Sauter developed. The studio arts elective, which works toward the fine arts, studio arts, public history, and design technology minors, will be offered for the first time this fall.