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In my final semester of college, for my final project in sculpture class, I completed a work of environmental art. I don't consider myself an artist at all, though I've been drawing since before I could write my name. So for the project, I built three long troughs from chicken wire and papier-mâché and sunk them in the soil I dug out from a natural area near the classroom. On the day the project was due, I picked up four buffalo hearts from G&C Packing Co., cut them up and laid them in the troughs.

My thought was that this homage of sorts to Joseph Beuys (a German artist known for using blocks of fat in his works) would be a raw example of environmental destruction. Or something. All I really wanted to do was dissect the hearts.

But I got a good grade and some credibility among classmates who hated getting glue on their hands, and I rolled the sod back in place when it was all over.

I hold great hopes, then, for our annual Fall Arts Preview. The artists we spoke to — of visual, musical, performing and literary stripes — put far more thought into their works than I ever did. So whether or not their efforts immediately ring true as art to you, we hope you get something out of the issue.

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