Yesterday, Ladd House underwent a transformation into an art gallery. The normally bare walls are now lined with photographs and paintings, and the typically empty common rooms hold interactive exhibits and sculptures all part of the show “340 Miles North,” sponsored by the Bowdoin Art Society (BAS).

“The point of the show is to showcase the vibrancy of the [Bowdoin] arts scene to [the College] and greater community,” said Tom Rosenblatt ’16, co-director of the BAS.

The art was organized throughout the house by medium. The yellow dining room holds two-dimensional work and the fireplace room displays three-dimensional sculptures. There is an installation piece in the basement and the chapter room is repurposed as a multimedia showroom. Last night, there was an a cappella performance by the Longfellows at the opening of “340 Miles North”—a title that refers to Brunswick’s distance from New York City.

Many of the works are photographs—which were popular submissions because “everyone has a camera,” according to Emma Wheeler ’15, artistic director of the BAS.
Around 35 artists submitted 120 pieces to this year’s show. The BAS tries to accept the majority of the work it receives. 

“[If] this is something the campus would enjoy, [if] this is something that we think deserves to be displayed, it will be in the show,” said Sophia Cheng ’15, the curatorial director of the BAS.

Last year, the BAS hosted the same show, also over Family Weekend. The 2013 show featured a popular interactive installation made from red Solo cups. Guests were invited to add their own cups to the piece.

The club was founded last year to make art by Bowdoin students more accessible, and after a successful version of “340 Miles North” last year and  the Delta Sigma/Delta Upsilon Art Show in Smith Union, it has started to find its footing on campus.

“We’ve gotten a lot better at producing [shows] and having a more seamless process,” said Rosenblatt.

This year’s show is similar to last year’s, but focuses more on the theme of image. This theme is manifest in the basement installation created in collaboration with the directorial board of the BAS and the Sculpture I class taught by Assistant Professor of Art Jackie Brown.
The basement walls are coated in aluminum. Strings of yellow smiley face stress balls hang from the ceiling. The installation is meant to explore the nature of public image, the meaning of brands and to explore what creates authenticity in image.

The BAS is holding the show in Ladd House to draw as many visitors as possible.
“One of our missions is trying to expand the culture of who has seen art on campus and to be further reaching in that sense,” said Wheeler.  “We felt if it was in a [College House], more people would come through, perhaps just accidentally.”

Because of Ladd’s central location, Wheeler believes that it attracts a wider range of Bowdoin students outside of the first years and sophomores that usually frequent College Houses. 

In addition to the art shows, BAS holds weekly meetings to discuss art and collaborates with other groups to create installations like the one in the Ladd basement.

The BAS has other major plans for the future. Members are working on a public art initiative to display art on campus and a Bowdoin Journal of Art for undergraduates across the nation to publish their scholarly art history writings.

For now, however, it seems that “340 Miles North” will remain a staple in the Society’s agenda, allowing students to appreciate the work of their peers.

“340 Miles North” will be open through Sunday of Parents Weekend in Ladd House.