New house on the block

Justin Jones

The big yellow house at the corner of Washington and Union, formerly known as Meditation House, is home to a new, vibrant group of students. Now called Artistic Expression House or simply Art House, the building has been rededicated as an accessible space for making and displaying visual art. Though the house has been fairly quiet without its founder Cindy Yetman on campus, according to RLM Steph Courtney, things are slowly starting to pick up.

“Basically, the idea is to make art accessible to everyone on campus,” said Courtney. Last year, she and Yetman realized how many students were interested in the visual arts but did not have the opportunity to take classes in Wriston Art Center. Students who are not enrolled in art classes are not allowed to use Wriston’s equipment or facilities — that is where Art House comes in.

To support these students’ efforts, the group plans to have a weekly studio time, during which all students are invited to make use of the house’s growing list of art supplies and to meet and collaborate with their artistic peers. Residents also plan to give demos on various techniques and processes to help inspire what they hope will be a growing community of student artists. Somewhere down the road, Art House may also be home to a dark room, a vital resource for film photographers without access to Wriston’s facilities.

To further support artistic development on campus, the house is also starting a small gallery to display the work of a different student artist every few weeks. Resident Will Mihill hopes the gallery will be “a comfortable space for students to get their work out there.” However, the specifics of the gallery are still tentative, and students may have to wait a few weeks before the house is ready to hang and display their work.

In the meantime, students are invited to bring a few pieces to the house, meet with residents for discussion and receive some constructive criticism. These informal conversations will continue throughout the year, and Courtney hopes they will help to make the house an important part of artistic life on campus.

Furthermore, though the house revolves around visual art, Yetman and Courtney hope to include musicians, writers and other non-visual artists in house events as well. “We’ve been playing with the idea of having an open mic night during studio hours,” said Courtney. “We don’t want to be exclusive.”

Though they sound like a serious bunch, Art House residents definitely know how to have a good time. They have plans to host “one big party a term,” according to Courtney, each of which will be art-themed and feature live music from campus or local bands.

With Yetman returning to campus next term and a great deal already planned for this one, Art House seems to be on its way to making a significant impact on how art is made on campus. If all goes as planned, that big yellow house on the corner will soon be home to a thriving community of student artists.