“Macabre” show provides venue for student art

Photo+Credit+Anna+Delph
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“Macabre” show provides venue for student art

Photo Credit Anna Delph

Photo Credit Anna Delph

Photo Credit Anna Delph

Photo Credit Anna Delph

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An ominous presence fell upon the basement of the Spoelhof Center last Friday night. Black curtains, old dolls, flickering candles and wilted tulips littered the hallways and classrooms as the lights were dimmed and the “Macabre” art show, ironically, came to life.

Over 100 pieces of visual and written art from over 30 different students, decorated the walls and classrooms of the art department. Students, faculty, friends and family could peruse the galleries and enjoy the student work as well as the many interactive pieces of the show such as a face painting station, a room full of pinatas, film screenings and an impressive array of Greek food.

Senior and Visual Arts Guild president, Caitlin Smits, felt that the evening’s dark mood was an apt commentary on current feelings around the art department.

“The theme was decided based on the date that we had selected,” said Smits, “and also in light of recent events with program cuts. We felt it was appropriate, albeit slightly morbid.”

The Visual Arts Guild, a student organization dedicated to promoting the arts on campus, hosted the art show and the artist workshop that followed, where students could bring their own projects to work on together. Smits described her elation at the night’s high levels of participation.

“This event was certainly the largest event we have had yet in terms of volunteers, attendees and submissions,” said Smits. “For me, the night was a tremendous success. … The turnout was more than we anticipated; people were lining up to help set things up. … It was really satisfying.”

“Students and faculty who attended all responded very well,” she added. “I had quite a few people tell me how wonderful it all was, as well as asking questions about the event and the organization.”

Art history professor Craig Hanson, who attended with his wife and daughter, also sang the guild’s praises.

“The students did an amazing job with this year’s Sub-Arts Show,” he said, “and it was exciting to see contributions from members of the artists’ collaborative.”

One room in the basement housed pieces from the first and second Artist Collaborative groups. Greg Manni, a member of the second Artist Collaborative who submitted a poem for the Macabre show, commented on how the theme of the event shed a new light on his peers.

“[These are all] people you know from campus, you wouldn’t think about those people having pieces that might be dark or scary,” he said.

Much of the artwork on display was available for students to purchase. Bekah Inman, a sophomore, spent much of the evening next to a table crowded with mugs, bowls and other ceramic pieces, all of which she made herself.

I sold a little over half of my inventory, which was amazing,” said Inman. She added that her passion for creating functional items that are hand-made, rather than commercial, was furthered by being able to see people wanting to use them. “It brings more character to food or drinks and I want to bring that character out. So when I see someone who likes one of my mugs and buys it, it warms my heart because I know it is going to make someone happy.”

Inman, who anticipates being on guild leadership next year, plans to keep student art sales as a part of guild events.

“I believe it encourages our art majors by letting them know that their art is worth something rather than them thinking that what they make is not good enough,” she said.

Volunteers and artists who submitted art for the Macabre show received a free “Macabre” T-shirt, though the shirts were also available for purchase for $1. The guild also had sketchbooks, stickers and other small graphic art items for sale.

With attendance numbers being what they were, Smits’ only critique was directed toward gallery viewers who she felt needed to stop to smell the roses.

“There were times where I felt people were rushing through the show as a way to see it, then leave,” said Smits. “I really loved it when people would slow down, hunt down the artists and ask them questions about their work.”

Smits said this spelled good news for the future of art events at Calvin.

So far we have had some of the best turnout in the past two years,” she said, “I really hope that in the future we can engage more of Calvin’s campus outside of the department. You do not have to be an art major to be involved,” she added, “which is wonderful.”

Senior Jack Van Allsburg echoed Smits’ sentiments:

“It’s always cool when you can see and be part of the community here,” he said, “even when it’s hidden underground.”

The Visual Arts Guild’s next event, A Very Merry Art Trade, will take place on Friday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. More information can be found on their Facebook page.