The expanding arts community reaches people with varying involvement in visual arts, music, theater, dance, and museum programming.
In the context of creating space and entry points for people across campus and the community of Waterville, Erica Wall, Director of the Lunder Institute for American Art, discussed new arts initiatives and her visions with the new arts spaces. Her job involves managing fellowship and scholarship opportunities for the Lunder Institute, which is one of many organizations and foundations related to the Colby College Museum of Art.
Wall explained her approach, “members of this arts community are in an arts ecosystem, so I think about how we sort of help to cross-promote the work that we’re doing and show where the intersections are.”
Students live downtown along with the Lunder Institute and Arts Office headquarters at Greene Block + Studios, and the new Schupf Center on Main Street are all parties involved in the arts here. Wall emphasized the collaboration and coexistence that “draws people back and forth from the campus and Waterville,” as Wall said, “illuminating all of the partnerships that make up the community.”
Waterville Creates and this conglomerate’s overlap with cinema is yet another place for arts engagement of many aspects of American art that build something between artists. She also explained that as arts organizations affiliated with the College aim to benefit the student community and the Waterville community as well, all the great aspects of the art world come together.
“Looking at American art is looking at culture and identity,” Wall said. “It always creates a real relevant interdisciplinary process, as liberal arts institutions do.”
The spirit of the College matches the Lunder institute’s focus on bringing people into the arts through engaging projects.
“It aligns with what we do here on campus,” Wall said. “The purpose is to make a greater impact on the way we look at American art, art research, and the scholarship exercised in the field,” Wall said.
The educational focus of the institute is for students to understand and explore pathways around the arts through fellowships that bring in professionals in various artistic fields. Achieving this goal becomes an integral part of building arts involvement and awareness as well as publications that record and share this work.
The opportunities to invite conversations with new voices are part of generating and contributing to the narrative of American art, the specialty of the Colby Museum, and the mission of the Lunder Institute.
As a perfect example of curating an art experience across multiple disciplines and media, the Colby Museum Student Board put on the Art Party: Dance & Design last Thursday, Dec. 1, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The result brought together people from the College and the Waterville area and all forms of art.
The arts community reaches people with various involvement in visual art, music, theater, dance, and museum programming, and this event was a comprehensive example.
The event was spread throughout the museum with various activities and offerings, but crowds gathered in the Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz for a theatrical performance of one of the paintings in the exhibit “Alex Katz: Theater and Dance.”
The show featured the backdrop of the massive Katz painting, “Pas De Deux,” which spans 132 in. by 360 in. space on the back wall of the Schupf Wing. In a combination of dancing, acting, and explaining the project, pairs of dancers moved and posed in reflection of the painting. Audiences also had the opportunity to ask questions about the piece.
James LaMarca `23 attended this event and stated, “as Alex Katz’s portraits fashion a somewhat documentarian nature, I often find it difficult to interact with these portraits because I feel I do not know the real-life individuals captured in his portrayals.”
This painting, as many others in this Katz’s collection, features famous couples from the arts scene in the 1980s, such as Francesco and Alba Clemente.
“It might possibly be due to the generational gap I have as a millennial, but I found this dance performance created a tangibility and fluidity, which made it much easier for myself to actively engage with and appreciate this composition,” LaMarca said.
Overall, attendees found the Art Party both informational and enjoyable. If you find yourself looking for things to do around campus, make sure to take a look at the Colby Museum’s events.
~ Molly George `23