There is only one place that you could find a fashion runway, a flower crown display, and a coronavirus-themed collage all in one space — the Wellin Art Share.
Through its Wellin Creates initiative, the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art sponsored an art supply kit giveaway, providing pre-packaged kits to 60 students. Throughout the week, students molded their masterpieces, and on Oct. 3, the Art Share took place – virtually, of course.
Grace Janes ’21 came up with the concept inspired by a different event the museum is hosting this year, a pen pal program with children in Clinton (who would normally visit campus through Wellin Kids programming).
“I just wanted to give students the chance to make art on campus,” Janes said. “We obviously can’t leave campus to get art supplies, so I wanted to bring it to them. In this pandemic world, we wanted to give them a chance to relax, as well as build community and increase the Wellin presence on campus.”
Janes particularly enjoyed the work of Aurora Cai ’21, who incorporated her Chinese culture into her creation by making a dancing dragon in celebration of the Oct. 1 Moon Festival.
Art Share judges (and Wellin docents) Christine Walsh ’21 and Henry Wilson ’23 stepped out to deliberate in a separate call, then returned to the room, noting that it was tough to choose winners, as all the participants had brought impressive works to the table. The winner of the category “Most Creative” went to Abigail Moone ’23 and Claire Harpel ’23 for creating a fashion show using a colored paper background, construction paper runway, and pipe cleaner models donned in mini flower pot heads and googly eyes. The models strutted to the tune of catwalk music.
Abigail Stanimer ’24 took home the prize for “Most Corona-esque” with her poster full of drawings of characters from the online game Among Us – wearing face masks. “Best Use of Color” went to America Grafton ’24 for her bright red and yellow flower crown made out of tissue paper, thread, and paper. Winners got to choose a prize of either a Wellin notebook, poster, or catalog featuring the past four exhibitions.
“I liked that it was an opportunity to see how other people are staying and being creative,” Walsh said. “I feel like it was a microcosm for the pandemic in that we’re doing a lot of things alone, but we’re still together. It was nice to see people happy and using color, with or without regard to what’s going on in the world right now. It was a happy moment to share together.”
This semester especially, the Wellin is trying to increase student engagement with the museum, both with the upcoming exhibition and with various activities. This year’s exhibition features Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz. Students will be able to explore the exhibit virtually on Oct. 19.