Annual Extraction is Another Success

Author: Alexandria DeVlaeminck

This past Friday, March 24, a plethora of artists from the Chatham community displayed their artwork at Chatham’s annual Extraction hosted by Chatham’s Artist Collective. Crowds of people floated into the Welker Room in Laughlin Music Hall to view the art and be a part of a Chatham tradition that supports the creativity of students.

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Artist Collective hosts successful, annual Extraction

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.

Photo Credit: Katerina Sarandou

Photo Credit: Katerina Sarandou

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.

Photo Credit: Katerina Sarandou

Photo Credit: Katerina Sarandou

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.”

Photo Credit: Katerina Sarandou

Photo Credit: Katerina Sarandou

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.”

Artist Collective hosts sled making event

The Artist Collective in collaboration with Professor Corey Escoto hosted a sled making event at the Art and Design Center on Wednesday, February 18. The event was open to both graduate and undergraduate students. Everyone who attended had the opportunity to make sleds that could be used to speed down Chapel Hill.

Without knowing in advance that their event was going to be hosted in between bursts of snowfall, this Sled Making event proved to be a nice break at a time of year when everyone is huddled inside. During the first part of the program, Escoto showed students how to safely work the saws and power drill. Before the event, he created a mini-prototype sled to show what the end result was going to look like.

Students took their time carefully planning out sled designs. Everyone was encouraged to be creative and design a sled that would be personalized. One student chose to make a sled comprised of geometric designs, while another crafted her sled in the image of Chatham’s campus-famous squirrels.

Once designs were invented, students set to work sketching out where to make cuts in the wood that they would then cut using the saws. After the designs were cut, slender beams were set inside to keep the sled together. Then a large plastic piece was secured to the bottom to ensure that the sled would glide smoothly down the hill.

“We want to introduce students to new art forms,” said Meg Scanlon, one of the members of the Artist Collective who helped to organize the event. “We also like to hold events to remind everyone that the Arts and Design Center is on campus.”

When asked what gave the group the idea to host this event, Scanlon commented, “We wanted to host something that would be fun. Corey talked about making sleds, and we all thought it sounded great.”

Along with sled making, the Artist Collective tries to give students the opportunity to go to different museums to see a variety of visual arts.  They also focus on participating in community art projects around the city, and earlier this school year, they created a giant paper dragon and a banned books piece that was featured during Banned Book Week. The club is looking forward to their next big event called Extraction on March 26. in the Welker Room. Everyone is welcome to submit artwork for the event.

Despite the fact that several people in attendance had never touched a power tool before, everyone walked away with a sled. Unfortunately because of the cold, no one was quite brave enough to venture out and try out their new creations, so it might be a few days before anyone will be seen with their personalized squirrel and carrot sleds zipping down Chapel Hill.

Chatham Marketing Association hosts Young Art Fair

As one of its professional development fund raising events, the Chatham Marketing Association (CMA) hosted an art fair in Mellon Board Room last Friday. The Young Art Fair had several art pieces, paintings, and gifts donated from different local stores.

Debbie Delong, the faculty advisor for the CMA, said, “Every year we plan a number of events for professional development. We basically do everything we can to get more applied experience with marketing skills and getting students ready to be professional marketers.”

Christina Fortunato, Junior and member of CMA, said, “From a business stand point we had to market ourselves. We had to get donations from local businesses around the area and then we also went to Children’s Hospital to see if they could paint beautiful pictures, and everyone was really involved in it.”

The art fair also had henna, face painting, handmade accessories, art pieces, and a bake sale. Addressing the payment method, Delong explained, “When you buy art or you buy bake sale items, you buy tickets and pay for things using the tickets.”

The event brought in a total of $1,100. Chatham Marketing Association will donate $400 to the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The artists that were showcased made $270 from the pieces sold during the event, and the remainder of the money will go back to CMA to cover the costs of the fair.

The Young Art Fair was a mix of student’s passions in art and marketing. Fortunato said, “I actually just started working in the marketing club. And of course I love art and I do ceramics and I came up with the idea of having an art fair to support the Free Care Fund for Children’s Hospital.”

Lynzy Groves, another member of the CMA, said “This is my first year in CMA because I just switched majors. My major is marketing now and am just happy to be a part of such a great event because I love art and that was my former major, and it is really neat to see the two married together.”

During the fair, people had the chance to make simple art pieces made of paper and buy paintings done by kids in the Children’s Hospital. Groves, who was responsible for the kids painting booth, said, “There are 22 pieces in total and we are actually doing a sign up option for all of the pieces.”

The booth also had a wish tree, and many visitors wrote wishes for children at the Children’s Hospital. The tree will be taken back to the hospital and displayed for each of the kids.

About their opinion of the CMA event, sophomore Elina Lankinen said, “I think it is really impressive I didn’t realize that there will be so much art and stuff like this.”

Senior Emily Kocian, who visited the art fair, said “I heard about the art fair through several e-mails that I got, and I got interested in coming to check out all the artwork, and then the Children’s Hospital work as well. I love handmade art–especially paintings–so I’m building my collection even though am a poor college student.”

Chatham’s Marketing Association gets creative about social impact

Create. Formulate. Innovate. This is the 2014-2015 theme for the Chatham’s Marketing Association (CMA).  Each year, CMA chooses an avenue to create some type of social impact, and this year was the CMA Young  Art 2014 Art Fair.

The fair was held on October 10 in Mellon Board Room. It showcased a collection of student artwork. The artists included Lorraine Yanjtovich, Christina Fortunato, Bonnie West, Lynzy Groves, and Anjelica Fortunato.

Project leaders say the art fair exceeded expectations.

“Our goals were met above and beyond,” said CMA member and event co-chair, Lynzy Groves. “Ultimately, we wanted to raise money for a good cause but we were also able to show the importance of art in the education of children. Without art as an outlet a lot of the kids at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh would struggle.”

A featured part of the fair was the wish tree and the silent auction. The wish tree was a concept developed by Groves.

“I wanted the wish tree to act as a way to give something visually stimulating that carries a message back to the kids at Children’s,” Groves said.

How the wish tree operates is an individual writes a message to the patients at Children’s sending them wishes for their future. The wish tree is currently stationed in the Falk building and will be put on display in Children’s.

As for the silent auction, Groves contacted the employees at the Free Care Fund to ask to showcase the children’s artwork. Little did she know that they would donate their work to the art fair

“I never thought they wouldn’t want their own creations back,” said Groves. “I have sentimental value with each piece I create and I figured they would, too. They surprised me and I wanted to see what I could do with their talent.”

Groves created the silent auction as a “classy” way to sell their work. The auction was very successful with every single piece from Children’s, a total of twenty-two pieces, sold.

Photo Credit: Alice Shy

Photo Credit: Alice Shy

Bringing the art fair into fruition was not a solo act. CMA collaborated with student organizations and local businesses to make the fair a success. The Artist Collective led by their president, Meg Scanlon, created interactive origami stars on each table along with light sculpture installations that were located at the entry ways for the Mellon Board Room.

Local businesses made their stamp on the art fair by donating their products for the CMA basket raffle. Businesses who participated include Artist and Craftsman, The Coffee Tree Roasters, Color Me Mine, Little’s, Michael’s, Sephora, Standard, Starbucks, Union Project, and Williams-Sonoma. There were 13 raffle baskets and all were sold. Funds raised will go to the CMA’s travel fund for their conference in New Orleans next year.

The Young Art Fair raised a total of $1,100. Part of these proceeds will go to the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The Free Care Fund provides care to every child, despite his or her family’s ability to pay for treatment. The fund is made possible through community donations. CMA’s contribution will help to provide care to children, who, due to meek finances, would otherwise go without.

CMA expects the art fair to become an annual event.

“We may change the date of the event for next year due to it being so close to mid-terms, which made planning stressful. However, it coincided with marketing week and helped CMA finish strong,” Groves said. “We may also change the integration of Children’s Hospital artwork. We would love to know more about the kids who donated their time and art. Hopefully we will next year.”

Chatham professor Corey Escoto exhibits art at Carnegie Museum of Art

If you take a trip to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland, chances are you will notice a prominently displayed sign outside of Gallery One that features a name familiar to Chatham University and its students. Corey Escoto, a Chatham professor for the past five years, currently has an ongoing solo exhibition in the CMOA as a part of the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial.

His exhibition is titled “Corey Escoto: Sleight of Hand,” and features his ‘experimental polaroids’ paired with sculptures that work alongside the photos. The polaroid images themselves, 16 in total hanging on the walls, feature different images pieced together in geometric forms instead of the standard solitary image that is conventionally associated with instant polaroid photos and photography.

These altered images play on our willingness to accept photographs as a concrete representation of truth and the world around us, when in fact they too can be so easily manipulated. They also play along with the ideas of chance, mistake and experimentation, which is in fact a part of how they came to be.

Photo Credit: Alice Shy

Photo Credit: Alice Shy

After dealing with the difficulties associated with lost digital photo files, a stolen computer, as well as a lost phone, Escoto decided to try polaroids as his photography medium.

With a large quantity of the instant film, Escoto says that with the polaroids, ” I could take pictures of anything and everything and not feel too fearful about not making great photos.”  They provided a chance to have more freedom with experimenting beyond the conventional and straightforward uses of the polaroids. The new medium brought with it the freedom to experiment and make mistakes.

The polaroids in the exhibition were produced by selectively covering areas of the light sensitive film with cut stencils to control the light exposure. This is how his camera stencil method came to be, and he has been fine-tuning and experimenting with the process for nearly three years.

The camera stencil technique that Escoto uses allows for the film to go through multiple exposures instead of the usual single exposure and provides them with a look that appears to almost to have been created and manipulated in Photoshop. This creates geometric forms within the larger images that unite fragmented smaller images of different places or objects.

Photo Credit: Indigo Baloch

Photo Credit: Indigo Baloch

The various images and moments are flattened into a single pattern in one planar surface. By using this technique of multiple exposures, the instant nature of the polaroid photos is undermined, as the end product now requires more than one exposure to be finalized, but it also creates new potential for what can come of their use.

In the exhibit at the CMOA, the polaroids are accompanied by related sculptures that bring the geometric shapes and patterns of the images into three-dimensional space.

Photo Credit: Indigo Baloch

Photo Credit: Indigo Baloch

Working against the flatness of the photographs that they are modeled after, the sculptures focus on surface and are made from materials that resemble natural materials, but are exclusively synthetic and man-made. They are made from goods such as wallpaper, paint rollers, printed vinyl, spray foam, cardboard, plastic, contact paper, and Plexiglas.

This is not the first major exhibition that Escoto has been a featured part of. Last spring, he had a solo show at Taymour Grahne Gallery in Manhattan and the year prior to that he had a solo show in Brooklyn.

The show in Brooklyn, presented at Regina Rex, a small and out of the way artist run space, was able to create other opportunities for Escoto, including his current show at the Carnegie.

He says, “each show is important, even the small ones, and I try to produce the best possible outcome given the situation for every show, big or small.” This just goes to prove that every show that an artist puts their work into is important, regardless of size, as they can lead to greater opportunities in the future.

“Corey Escoto: Sleight of Hand” is on display in Gallery One of the Carnegie Museum of Art through September 29, 2014.


Lights, camera, Extraction: Artist Collective hosts a night of the arts

This past Thursday, March 27, the Welker Room was transformed into an art oasis as visual arts, spoken word, and music were showcased for the 2014 Extraction. This is the third year the Artist Collective has hosted the art festival. Extraction was a combined effort of Artist Collective members Meg Scanlon, Rosemary Davies and Denesha Moorefield. Together they reached out to painters, sketch artists, printmakers, sculptors, musicians, writers and overall art enthusiasts to come and celebrate all things artistic.

Extraction began at 8 p.m. and upon entering, guests were greeted with the “Caffé D’Amore” coffee station. Here, people could order handcrafted specialty beverages prepared with local and organic ingredients made fresh by Sarah Walsh, a trained Barista and owner of “Caffé D’Amore”.

The artwork displayed at extraction was very well received. First year Lynzy Groves’ cityscape was appreciated along with senior Shannon Ward’s floppy disk boxes.

Photo Courtesy of Alice Shy First Year Jilene Penhale admiring student artwork

Photo Courtesy of Alice Shy
First Year Jilene Penhale admiring student artwork

“I was inspired to make the boxes when I saw my mom throwing floppy disks [away],” Ward said. “I come from a recycling family so it is very rare for us to throw anything away. I pulled them out of the trash; I had to do something with these.”

Attendees were free to browse the artwork at their leisure, snacking on pita chips and artichoke dip. There were many stations where attendees could experience art first hand.

Denesha Moorfeld had a henna station where she tattooed participants. Kristen Shaeffer, a Film and Digital technology professor, is currently working on a collaborative animation project exploring how people are connected to one another in ways we cannot perceive. At extraction, Shaeffer passed out worksheets of silhouetted dancers. Those who were interested were asked to trace the silhouette of dancers and dedicate the their drawing to someone they have a strong connection with.

Later in the evening there was spoken word poetry. First year Maryann Fix opened with two heartfelt poems showing vulnerability and love. Other featured readers included Liz Sawyer, Chloe Bell and Kaitlyn Lacey.

Photo Courtesy of Alice Shy First Year Meg Scanlon helped plan the event

Photo Courtesy of Alice Shy
First Year Meg Scanlon helped plan the event

“I think it’s nights like these, that are centered around people’s passion, that make Chatham so beautiful” Fix said.

The evening concluded with live music. Sophomore Melissa Garrett performed some of her original ukulele songs and sang a duet with senior Esther Troetschel. Following Garrett was sophomore Natalie Beck, who sang some of her original songs accompanied by the ukulele as well. Senior Esther Troetschel then sang a solo in Yiddish.

“I’m very happy with the turnout” said Davies. “In Extraction we make the art we see in ourselves. Whether it’s in visual, spoken word, or music you can really [see] all of the art forms working together.”

Artist Collective wins national award for Extraction

Only two years after its inception, Chatham University’s Artist Collective recently distinguished itself by receiving the Outstanding Social Program Award from the National Association of Campus Activities for their yearly event, Extraction.

The Artist Collective, founded in 2011, was the brainchild of Sally Ramirez and Paige Hoffman.  Ramirez said the idea for it was conceived in reaction to the realization that she and Paige “shared a vision of a community of artists who were passionate about art and advocates of their work.”

From there, with the help of Chatham Faculty Member Dr. Prajna Parasher and the group’s student advisor Corey Escoto – as well as a group of like minded students – the club became a reality.

Ramirez said  Extraction was at the heart of the Artist Collective from the very beginning, describing it as the “the culminating project of everything we envision and value about the artist community. It is an event that is all-inclusive and provides a platform for artists of every art form: singers, songwriters, spoken word, culinary, performance and visual artists.”

Photo credit: Kitoko Chargois

Photo: Kitoko Chargois/Left to right: Club Co-founder Sally Ramirez, Club Advisor Corey Escoto and Jeanette McCabe enjoy the second annual Extraction.

Extraction, as Payal Patel, co-president of the group, put it, is a “student showcase extravaganza.”  It occurs annually and provides an evening of music, food, camaraderie, and art.

While it is in essence an art show, that label does not really do Extraction justice; it is more of a full sensory experience, highlighting art and artists that everyone can enjoy.

Born out of a need for a platform to display the talents of the many artists at Chatham, the event provides a way to address the “distinct lack of student artwork being displayed on campus,” said Patel.

“The process took a lot of people and a lot of organizing between ourselves, between other clubs and between student activities and external guests and acts we contracted,” said Patel.

The result each year is a clear demonstration of the Artist Collective’s efforts and

Photo: Kitoko Chargois/ A local band performs at the first ever Extraction.

Photo: Kitoko Chargois/ A local band performs at the first ever Extraction.

dedication to the art community at Chatham.

In the two years since the Artist Collective began, Extraction has grown to be a hugely successful event.  So much so, that Stephanie Reynolds of Student Activities approached Patel about entering a national competition of campus activities.

Deciding to take this opportunity, the group completed the application process which required a portfolio documenting their process of planning, budgeting, advertising and various goals related to hosting Extraction.  “Two months later we hear from Stephanie again – this time learning we had just won,” said Patel.

Patel is proud that the group has gained such recognition. “[It was] really gratifying to get recognized for something that we both worked so hard on and felt so proud of,” she said.  She noted that recognition belonged to everyone involved in the Artist Collective, as Extraction was very much a group effort.

With a precedent now set, the Artist Collective has already begun planning for this year’s Extraction and has set a tentative date for the end of March.  Many of the original members graduated, leaving room for a whole new group to plan the event this year, such as Patel’s co-president Rosemary Davies.  As both Patel and Ramirez pointed out, this ensures that the event will remain dynamic and allows new and diverse members of the Collective to pursue their own visions for the event.

Regarding the Artist Collective’s plans for the future, Escoto said, “I think it would be really cool if the university would support [or] invest in the group [or] idea of Extraction by booking an instantly recognizable national music act that would draw visitors to our hidden jewel of a campus. It is always exciting for our small university to be a center of attention and I think it could be great if Chatham became known (among all of the college age students in Pittsburgh) for throwing the best party of the year.”