February 17, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Kira Smith

Colorado College students are busy. Taking one class at a time gives us the deceitful perception that we have time in our lives to take up a wide range of extracurricular commitments. When we return to our dorms at the end of the day, does anyone remember interacting with visual art beyond the odd doodle made in the corner of a notebook? Unless you managed to stumble into a mural or had a run-in with an illustration, the answer is likely no.

Our most popular majors operate out of buildings like Olin, Barnes, and Tutt Science, far from the creative halls of our visual arts department. Humanities students are often buried in their books too, huddled in white-walled study rooms.

How can we intentionally bring the visual arts into our lives? How can we find that time that we all thought we would have to explore beyond our majors and concentrations, to incorporate the beauty of the art world especially on a block plan.  

According to Maria Rosario Jackson’s report for The Urban Institute, artworks in public spaces become “pulse points for the community.” Art has the potential to spark conversations, question or confirm our beliefs, and to serve as a source of reflection. Also, it looks cool.

So where are students at CC finding art to cohabitate with?

One way to engage with student art on campus is through the Fourth Tuesday Open House hosted by the art department. After filling your paper cup with lemonade, hot chocolate, or fruit punch, you can wander the beautiful halls of Packard and enjoy the visual art produced by this block’s budding artists.

If you have ever wanted to peruse through the studios, perhaps letting yourself escape into the fantasy of an art critic, Fourth Tuesday is your chance to do so. Letting your mind wander through the creativity of our peers is an escape from the usual Fourth-Week chaos and a great opportunity to see what your classmates have been working on.

Additionally, if you find your body aching from the strain of being hunched over a laptop, you can always take a walk across campus to the Fine Arts Center. Although many have seen the galleries with a class, how many of you have taken the chance to explore the glories of the FAC galleries unimpeded by the watchful eyes of your professor?

Through the heavy glass doors of the gallery, you will find yourself in a new world, a world in which your history class comes to life, where chemistry is preserved in front of you, and where the theories of sociology speak to us through these objects’ pasts. Watch this world unfold through every carved, painted, and forged piece of the museum’s permanent collection; allow yourself to ask new questions, explore hard truths, and start conversations worth having. The world of the FAC is also always in the process of changing, as the museum brings in new and exciting exhibitions throughout the year.

Maybe your “Saturdays are for the Boys” flag brings you a lot of joy, but few would call it art. As you think about next year’s room decor, a trip to the Art Loan Program’s website might prove both inspiring and fruitful.

The Art Loan Program, as described by Jeremy Cashin ’24, operates with the distinct goal of “giving students control over the art they are around in some way” as a source of “representation, meaning, and reflection.”

Through the program, you can borrow pieces from CC’s Campus Collection and bring home the art that your barren dorm room walls are desperate for. The program is an opportunity for anyone to experience the joy and fulfillment of living with art.

Sometimes, after a hard day of work, studying, or waiting through a long line at Rastall’s Cafe, the notion of going out and seeking art might seem less appealing. However, everyone deserves the value that visual art can bring to our lives.

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