Public Art Alumna Publishes Book Based on Collaborative Art Experience at Arcadia

By Caitlin Burns | March 3, 2021


Art History alumna Sydney Welch ’20 published her first book “The Art of Collaboration: An In-Depth Look at Creative Practices for Creative People,” which takes an in-depth look at the origins of collaboration and how it takes shape in different ways.

Welch found much of her inspiration for the book from her time at Arcadia, and credits a seminar on Leonardo Da Vinci taught by Dr. Jill Pederson, chair and associate professor of Art and Design who she counts as an advisor and a mentor, as having a heavy influence on the book. She also cites her study abroad experience junior year as shifting her “understanding of collaboration,” and inspired her to create something of her own,” said Welch. 

“I have always been extremely creative,” said Welch, “and my love and appreciation for the arts has only grown and developed more as I have gotten older.”

Dr. Pederson encouraged Welch in her senior year to get involved with the Arcadia Public Art Project, as her first hands-on creative collaborative experience.

“In so many ways the project embodies collaboration: between the artist, who at the time for me was [Adjunct Professor of Art and Design] David Guinn; the students in the apprenticeship course; and the community and township,” said Welch. “To play a role in the facilitation of the [Glenside Train Station] underpass murals was a great privilege and a major learning experience.”

The murals, titled “Bits and Pieces,” includes LED lights that illuminate the elements of the murals—pieces of the Glenside community, such as the rosettes on the facade of Won Acupuncture Clinic, the lattice on the roof of Elcy’s Cafe, and the outline of a Grey Towers Castle turret on Arcadia’s campus, to name a few. The murals, located on each side of the Glenside Train Station underpass, were completed in 2017 and 2018.

This experience helped Welch to see first-hand the positive impact that creativity can have on communities, and made it clear to her that it could not have happened without collaboration. 

“As I have had time to reflect on my book and my time working under Guinn, studying under Dr. Pederson, and traveling around the world, I have really come to appreciate how seamlessly collaboration occurs in so many different environments,” said Welch. 

After a year of uncertainty and difficult circumstances, Welch believes that the need for collaboration is more pressing than ever.

“The world is changing before our eyes and I believe we have an opportunity to use collaboration to launch us into a ‘renaissance’ of our own, but it must be done consciously and deliberately,” said Welch. “I truly believe that the key to creative success is deliberate and conscious collaboration and I walk my reader through many examples of how to achieve that.”

Purchase her book on Amazon and follow Welch’s collaboration journey on her Instagram.