If you’ve ever walked through the hallways and galleries of the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance, you’ve probably seen Visual Arts Technician Tara Hutton installing artwork or training students on how to use a bandsaw.

While working as a studio assistant for the art department for her alma mater, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Hutton searched for opportunities to relocate to New England.

“I’ve lived in Maryland my whole life, up until now. But I always wanted to move up here,” said Hutton. “Almost all of the schools I looked at when I was applying to undergrad were in New England. I think this is kind of fulfilling high school Tara’s dream.”

Hutton arrived at Bowdoin during the renovations of the Edwards center in 2013. During her first few weeks, she was responsible for consolidating all equipment and supplies for the Visual Arts and Dance departments from the many places on campus into the new facility.

“Nobody knows this building the way I do because I’ve set up everything in here,” said Hutton.

With this extensive knowledge, Hutton manages the maintenance of the studios and galleries, purchases and repairs equipment, and assists with exhibitions like the Senior Studio and end-of-the-semester shows.

Working in an artistic environment is not new for Hutton. As an undergraduate studying art and art history, she made digital artwork, designed web pages, constructed sets for theater productions, and helped manage several exhibitions at the Boyden Gallery at St. Mary’s. And although her responsibilities revolve around helping others showcase their art, Hutton continually creates her own works as side-projects.

“In undergrad, I was interested in sexual identity politics,” said Hutton. “Now, I think ultimately I’m mostly interested in art that is displayed and accessed through the web.”

Her most recent work (which can be viewed at tnhutton.com) explores Hutton’s move from Maryland to Maine and how it has affected her memories.

“I’ve been interested in exploring memory and how memories inform each other,” said Hutton. “Biologically, every time you access a memory it rewrites it. You’re kind of being continually informed by your current experiences, so there’s never a pure memory.”

To convey these ideas, Hutton creates a moving digital image that overlays pixels of colors between two photos of Maryland and Maine. Creating this artwork is made easier with the Edwards Digital Media Lab, which has the software Hutton uses to manipulate photos.
“Coming up here, the lab’s been super nice,” said Hutton. “It’s the nicest lab I’ve ever seen.”

Having always lived in coastal areas, Hutton appreciates Brunswick’s proximity to nature.
“It was really important to be so close to the water,” Hutton said. “I remember asking that in my first interview with the [Dean’s Office], ‘How close am I to the ocean?’ My partner Laura and I are really into hiking and I love having Bradbury Mountain ten minutes away.”

This spring marks Hutton’s second year at Bowdoin, and she said that the best part of her job has been working with students and trying new kinds of materials or helping them to set up installations. The creative atmosphere of the Edwards Art Center enables her to be surrounded by what she enjoys the most.

“I’ve always been kind of a maker, even at home,” said Hutton. “I love building things for the house, making jewelry or knitting…The act of creation that leads into an object, I really like that.”