In hopes of forming a new connection with the local community, university art and design students have put together an exciting opportunity for interaction. Intriguing works of pottery, handmade jewelry, pouches, customized buttons, magnets, bright prints and paintings all contribute to the second annual Holiday Art Sale, which opened on Dec. 1 in Taylor Hall. Hosted by the Department of Art and Design, the sale offers individual works of art created by over 30 undergraduates and graduate students, staff and alumni from the university.
Last year, Simone Welsh and Minori Thorpe noticed that there wasn’t any type of event for art students that happened around the end of first semester. The department participates in Ag Day in the spring, but was looking for some way to bring attention to their student’s talent at the end of the fall semester as well.
“This is a really nice way for the graduate students to raise a little bit of money for themselves before the holidays,” Welsh, a second year art and design graduate with a focus in ceramics, says. “It’s nice to get people in and interested about the department”
Thorpe is a retired anesthetist and nurse who now serves as a “fairy ceramics godmother” to the graduate students, according to Welsh. Thorpe takes a non-credit ceramics courses at the university to experiment with new techniques. Within the classroom environment, she spends her time giving advice to graduate students and serving as a mentor. She observed that the community seemed disconnected from the work her classmates were creating, and wanted to draw more attention to what was happening in the department.
“Mainly, we feel we don’t have much of a connection to the community or the public,” Thorpe says. “I thought this way, people would be able to know.”
Taylor Hall is often used for art exhibitions and as a common space for community members and students to interact and discuss art. However, the space is generally geared more towards art shows than art sales.
“For some of these people it’s their first time having their art sold in a craft show as opposed to a gallery show, so they’re making different things,” Welsh says. “There’s an intimidation factor when you go into a gallery versus going into something like a holiday sale. It’s more user friendly.”
The second annual Holiday Art Sale continues through Tuesday, Dec. 5. Tuesday’s closing reception is at the same time as a colloquium, encouraging art students to attend, view or buy handmade works from their peers. Already the sale is receiving attention from community members and students alike, leading to a greater participation and engagement both within the university community and the Newark community.
“The art department of students will be exposing themselves to the community, and the community will know what the students are doing,” Minori says, “the community ought to know that there are artists here.”