By Noor Azeem
A once-empty room in the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building now features art using all sorts of mediums lining the walls, sitting with refined poise on the ground or hanging from the ceiling. College alumni, students and staff fillled the room for the opening reception of the 2014 Art Alumni Exhibition on Wednesday, Sept. 3.
With more than a few pops of color, there certainly wasn’t a shortage of people in the room, all exuding a similar energy of excitement.
The staff, in particular, seemed to be proud of all they had accomplished.
Multiple decades is right — some of the alumni are from the 1970s, while others graduated just last spring with the class of ’14. One alumna, Angela Winterrowd, who also served as a staff member, recollected that “this building didn’t exist when (she) was a student.”
Even though they may be from different times, all the alumni seem to share a drive for creativity, which led to a cohesive exhibit.
The variety displayed in the pieces kept attendees moving about, looking for the next piece to excitedly point out to the person with whom they came.
One piece, created by ’79 graduate Helene Plank, was the image of a rose made entirely of buttons. Katie Petrillo, from the class of ’11, designed a digital print where the viewer was able to look inside the image to see another one.
Various pieces were canvas paintings, some with added touches like gold leaf or graphite. A charcoal on paper piece dominated one wall. There were even some that utilized TV screens and video.
Art gallery director Emily Croll spoke about arranging all the pieces and deciding exactly what went into putting this together.
“I always try to arrange the works so they talk to each other,” she said. She further explained how sometimes the pieces would need to be moved around to improve the aesthetics of the gallery. If two video pieces were too close, for example, they would be moved so they didn’t “speak to each other too much.”
“It’s a diverse group of art, but I think it came together well,” Croll said. She gave credit to Sara Reisman, the juror of the art exhibition and a well-established curator.
The artists who contributed to the exhibition and the staff who made it possible were honored in a short 10-minute speech in which a few people welcomed the alumni and the guests to the gallery.
“It really gives me a lot of pleasure to be able to welcome back a lot of our talented alumni to this department,” said Lee Ann Riccardi, chair of the department of Art and Art History. It was a sentiment many seemed to share.
Not only are the alumni talented, as Riccardi pointed out, but they are diverse as well. From art education majors to psychologists and art therapists, the alumni showcased in the gallery have found niches in all walks of life.
An alumna from 1990, Elisa Hirvonen, has her own clay studio, while ’13 graduate Frank Sung recycles words and images for projects in photography, cinematography, music and writing.
Even those who haven’t graduated yet are aiming to make a mark on the art gallery — two hallways feature photography from current students at the College, who may very well be featured artists in more art exhibits down the road.
The energy of the room was almost as loud as the energy of the pieces, and it was clear that the art inspired many who attended. The Art Alumni Exhibition seems like it won’t lose momentum, swinging until it’s very last day on Thursday, Oct. 9.