Findings: Taking Students’ Art into the Community

Packed to capacity, Gallery 95 at Porter Mills Studios in Beverly was alive with the chatter of students and faculty admiring the artwork of five sophomore art majors alongside pieces by their Gordon arts community mentors.

Piloted last year by the Department of Art, Findings is a collaborative project that brings together professional artists and current Gordon students to create an art exhibit. Entirely on their own time and with no credit incentive, the students are given five months to develop pieces to include in the show, paired with art alumni and former faculty who serve as coaches through the process. This year, former Adjunct in Art Shelly Bradbury, Rosemary Scott-Fishburn ’00 and Kathleen George ’00 returned to Gordon to take part in this collaboration.

Art Department Chair David West says Findings is a beneficial event on multiple levels. The gallery “gets our students experience outside the walls of the school; it lets them see that a professional gallery is within their reach, and it exposes the community to us.”

“It’s very empowering,” said Meredith Free ’20, a student-artist who presented with sculpture. Free’s intricate figures were made from miscellaneous mechanical parts and wooden odds and ends that she found while rummaging through Barrington’s wood shop. “It’s very encouraging as a Christian art student to have your art in town, in public, outside of Gordon,” she says. “It makes you think you could actually do it.”

In addition to helping prepare students for their senior theses, Peter Morse, manager of the Barrington Center for the Arts, says the program is a taste of professional life—an opportunity for students to show their work seriously. The young artists must take initiative, and, through trial and error, explore new methods and media.

“I’ve learned that the creative process does not always move in one direction,” Free says. “But sometimes you have to destroy a little bit of your work for it to actually be created.”

The exhibit will be on display February 10 and 17, from 12 to 5 p.m. at Beverly’s Gallery 95 at Porter Mill.

By Veronica Andreades ’19