This fall, Bowdoin Art Society, a new art interest group, entered the College’s art scene. For the past few years, Bowdoin has had two different art groups: Art Club, dedicated to the making of art, and the Student Museum Collaborative (SMC), devoted to bridging the gap between Bowdoin College Museum of Art and students. Art Society’s agenda, however, involves fostering conversations about visual arts and creating art shows composed of student work.
“Art Society is about bringing together people who have an interest in the arts and forming a nucleus for the art community on campus,” said Tom Rosenblatt ’16, Art Society co-president.
“Right now, there are a lot of other great art clubs, but we want to really centralize the artistic sphere on campus,” he added.
Art Society has its debut project coming up over Family Weekend this October. They plan on doing a student-curated art show in Ladd House from next Thursday to Sunday. The club will transform the public space in Ladd to galleries, turning the chapter room into a media room and the basement into an interactive installation.
For the interactive installation, Art Society has paired with College House Eco Reps and Sculpture I to collect individual red Solo cups and create a giant Solo cup in the basement of Ladd.
“So much about the art world isn’t just the artists themselves, it’s the people who are promoting [the artists],” said Emily Stewart ’16, Art Society co-president. “There has been a lot of interest in the arts at Bowdoin, but so far there hasn’t really been a centralized place [for art on campus]. We really wanted to bring some new energy...and start our own thing.”
Art Society also plans on producing a publication once a semester to highlight student art and student essays, and to report about the art world in Portland and Brunswick.
Rosenblatt and Stewart both agreed that art is a broad topic in today’s society.
“[Art] is so interdisciplinary and cross media. We might do events with dance groups and with music groups,” said Stewart. “We’re not only thinking about...like paintings and drawing.”
“People don’t understand the kind of complexities that the contemporary art world is engaging in nowadays,” added Rosenblatt. “We want to try to bring some of that energy to campus and see if Bowdoin can play a role.”
Both leaders said that Art Society wants to take art to the next level.
“We want to be doing something more radical,” said Rosenblatt. “We want to be doing something more than just what traditional arts are. We want to be bringing in new energy. We want to see what more we can do with art.”
“College is supposed to be a place where you’re experimenting, where you’re pushing the envelope,” agreed Stewart.
The other arts groups on campus have made room for Art Society.
“I think...the other [arts] clubs on campus in relation to our club are really healthy,” said James Miller ’14, head of Art Club. “I’m really excited about the perspective [Art Society] is going to bring.”
Art Club, as opposed to Art Society, dedicates itself to the making of art in its weekly meetings and creating a “community where you can be motivated to finishing your goals,” according to Miller.
Abbie Geringer ’14, one of the leaders of SMC, agreed that Art Society will have a place on campus.
“There’s always been a lot of interest from students in having the Museum do student art shows,” said Geringer. “But it’s a fine line between showing student art and changing [the Museum] from an institution of...higher art into art that’s still growing.”
Geringer explained that the SMC is “a group of students who work to promote the Museum and just generally make the campus aware of [the Museum] as a resource and as a place where students can go to see art...and go to events. We want to get people into the Museum.”
Events like the SMC’s Student Night, taking place this evening, helps to spread interest in the arts throughout campus.
“We...draw in a massive crowd of people who are just there to socialize and have a great time,” said Geringer. “So even if they’re just interested in seeing friends, the fact that we can bring them to an art institution to do that exposes them to the arts.”
All three clubs agree that art has a growing influence on campus and is beginning to connect everyone and draw them into the arts.
“When I first started with Art Club, I wasn’t too confident in the arts on campus,” explained Miller of Art Club. “But, as I continue my career, [art] seems to be here much more.”
“We’re getting there,” Geringer said. “Baby steps. It’s still a matter of reaching out to everyone. It’s still a matter of getting interest.”
(Full disclosure: A&E Editor Natalie Clark ’14 is a co-leader of SMC.)