A plethora of artistic success

Perron, Amelia

Lawrence musicians and artists emerged from their respective caves last Saturday to spend 12 hours in a collaboration of art and music, dubbed “Arts Plethora” by founder Sandi Schwert, a senior art major. Schwert, assisted by senior Natasha Prouty, junior Elliot Rayman, and super-senior Ben Klein, organized Plethora to allow musicians and painters to work side by side in creating works that, inspired by live music, would find a home in the Lawrence Conservatory. The paintings, generally abstract, were created between noon and midnight in the Wriston Amphitheatre.
For some of the artists, collaborating with musicians was new, and a bit challenging. Said Prouty, “There were so many different kinds of groups, and even within one piece there would be changes, so it was hard to decide how to integrate the different styles into the painting.”
A comparison of the different works is a study in the vast differences between artistic styles. Reid Stratton, a euphonium player, observed that “each artist has a particular aesthetic, a technique or idea that they’ve been working on, and they’ll interpret what they hear through that.”
The musicians, while inspired by the presence of artists, weren’t necessarily playing from what they saw on the canvas. Stratton confessed that he “wasn’t really paying attention” to the artists. Occasionally, a definitive connection would appear, such as the figure of a bass player emerging on the canvas, or a squiggled line immediately imitated by a saxophone lick.
As if coordinating two forms of art wasn’t hard enough, the Plethora crew also had to contend with a surprise rainstorm. Midway through the afternoon, the musicians moved their instruments into the Wriston vestibule and the painters rushed to carry their canvasses inside. “I didn’t expect the paint to run quite that much,” Prouty remarked. “I guess those pieces are finished.” But the rain let up, and a pared-down group gathered in front of the Union to size up their options. Optimism and enthusiasm for the project prevailed. “Well,” Klein suggested, “let’s stretch a new canvas and start over.”
When Arts Plethora came to an end, Klein remarked, “All of us agree that it was a great success. We persevered through the rain and we have seven awesome works of art.” Klein, like many other students, was excited about the opportunity for art and music students to work together. As for the artists, he added, “it gives them a little idea of playing in an ensemble.”
In terms of what’s next for Arts Plethora, the first thing is to get the paintings mounted in the conservatory. But almost universally, the campus wants to see more events like this. “This needs to happen way more often,” a freshman connie remarked, rubbing paint off her fingers. “It’s good for us to get out of our holes and do stuff.” That said, she shouldered her instrument and headed for a practice room.