By Sophia Paffenroth
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso
This past Saturday, November 17th, was the grand re-opening of the Peterson Art Gallery on the Santa Fe campus. The gallery has been dormant for the past couple years, and has just re-emerged with new people and new plans. When it was decided to re-open the gallery, a work-study position was created, which was taken up by a Junior, and a few others, myself included, have been volunteering over the past couple months to make the gallery possible.
Among the great aspects of said gallery, one of the first and foremost is the community mentality that it promotes. Students, tutors, faculty, and staff alike were all encouraged encouraged to—and did—submit works of art. Art is normally something kept private amongst people, and so to see it, from people from all parts of the community, side by side, was such a novelty. There is a way in which the visual arts seem to act as a bridge between the intellectual and the emotional parts of us. It was fun to have a setting, outside of class, where tutors and faculty and students could all discuss something that is both conceptually thoughtful but also deeply personal and reflective on one’s own life. The submissions I saw really opened up the artists for me, and I saw something new and complex in all of those who submitted works. I think everyone else would agree that this was a wonderful consequence of the space. Community is all about being open and vulnerable, offering one another different perspectives, while also maintaining something shared and common.
In the future, we hope to make more work-study positions in the gallery (yes, you could get paid to work in the gallery), have themed shows, and also have visiting exhibits from museums and artists in town. Santa Fe is the second largest art market in the country, so why not?
Generally speaking, I think that incorporating the visual arts into the program is really important. The way that different works of art reflect on and respond to one another is very reminiscent of the way that the books on the program do so with one another.
Onwards–to books, to art, and to all great things.