Despite the poor weather, crowds of people from Chatham and the surrounding community flocked to the Welker Room in the Laughlin Music Hall on the evening of Thursday, March 26, to take in the sights at Chatham’s much talked about annual art exhibition: Extraction.
Decorated with string lights and white balloons, and with the comforting sounds of an espresso machine whirring from Caffe d’Amore’s coffee table near the front room, the venue gave off an air of sophistication.
The award-winning event was hosted by Chatham’s Artist Collective and was organized for the second year in a row by Sophomore Meg Scanlon, an Art History major and President of the group.
“I think [Extraction] is an excellent opportunity–the only opportunity–for students of any major to show their art on campus,” Scanlon said of the event.
“We accept any art, as long as we have room for it,” she continued. “We try to make the show as inclusive of the community as possible.”
One look at the art that filled the large room was enough to prove the truth of her words, as the collection included everything from simple contour drawings and renderings of leaves to multimedia sculptures complete with naked Barbie dolls.
One big change to the event this year was the addition of film to the collection of items on exhibit.
Sophomore Alice Shy, who was instrumental in this change, explained, “Last year I asked Meg about incorporating video, but by the time I asked it was too late to do anything.”
She continued, “This year she asked if I was still interested,” which is how three of Shy’s films ended up on display in the Founder’s room, connected to the Welker room.
As students perused the various art pieces on display, musicians from Chatham, as well as local bands, added an auditory dimension to the evening’s artistic theme. Musicians throughout the evening included sophomore Emily O’Brian on piano, guitar and keyboard duo Jonathan Pezzuti and Jason Leech, junior soloist Natalie Beck, Chatham’s own Ukaladies, and local band Fun Home featuring sophomore Jessica Turner on keyboard.
On the other side of the room from the musicians’ performance space was a craft table, hosted by Feminist Activists Creating Equality (FACE), Chatham’s recently formed feminist coalition, where students could decorate sanitary napkins with beads, glitter, and other assorted materials.
Kelly Nestman, a sophomore Women’s Studies and Social Work major and President of the group, explained that they planned the multimedia project to display, “different interpretations of what people think vagina’s look like.”
Nestman restarted the group, which existed a few years back but disbanded due to lack of participation and differing definitions of feminism, with the goal of, “doing everything in our power to make sure that Chatham College for Women is still present and relevant next year.”
FACE is holding their first official meeting in the Carriage House on April 2, where they will be playing feminist bingo and giving out prizes, including finger puppets of famous women, and “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts.
Next to FACE, Bonnie West, a Senior studying Visual Arts, sat at a table previewing the work that she will be displaying at her tutorial show in early April.
“My show’s kind of about memories and collecting,” West explain, continuing, “It’s more than art as a finite piece; it’s a process, and this is documenting it.”
As she sat at her table pinning intricate patterns of beads and sequins (which she has been collecting since he was young) into a piece of Styrofoam, West explained that her show is “subverting consumerism,” by taking her collections of various things like ChapSticks and plastic 90s toys, which were meant to be fleeting and ephemeral, and making art out of them.
Attendees were fairly unanimous in their high praise of the event. Sophomore Maggie McGovney explained that she always enjoys attending, saying, “It’s great to see what my classmates have made.”
Shy expressed similar sentiments, saying, “I feel like this event gets better every year.”
When asked what motivated her to take on the task of planning Extraction, Scanlon replied, “My favorite part of the event is when I have a second to stand back and watch people fill the room and have conversations about anything.”
She continued, “It’s nice to be able to facilitate a space for the community to come together, observe and enjoy.”