Marist Magazine: Fall 2014 - page 36

Before & After
“With the head
and the heart in
alignment, the
growth of this
remarkable band
was assured.”
—Professor Ed Smith
arist College art students
who began a capping class last
January with Professor Ed Smith
weren’t sure what was ahead.
But what they didn’t expect was
that by the end of the semester, they’d
have spackled walls in a retail space in
downtown Poughkeepsie and trans-
formed the space into a pop-up art
gallery that remained open for nearly
two weeks.
Smith, also the Marist Art Gallery
director, didn’t have the project in
mind either when the class started.
“During the course of the capping
class, they were asking, ‘How would you get
an exhibition?’ So we changed direction
and I suggested they go and secure a space
and create an exhibition from soup to nuts,’’
Smith said.
The idea was the first step in what became
“FromWater to Wall’’ featuring the work of
10 of the students. The name of the exhibi-
tion arose out of a long think-tank session
among the students. “It was felt that ‘From
Water to Wall’ gave an acknowledgement
to the Hudson River and the young artists’
place there and a sense of time passing,” said
Smith. “Also this related to the culmination
of their four years at Marist and an exhibition
that made it to ‘the gallery walls’ in a cohesive
and clear version of their personalities.”
The art students secured the downtown
space for free, got support from the Dutchess
County nonprofit Arts Mid-Hudson and then
had one month to turn the space into a sleek,
welcoming art gallery that created a con-
nection between the students and the local
community. Besides renovations, they had
to prepare and curate the work and create
Pop-Up Art
B Y K AT H L E E N N O R T O N M C N U LT Y ’ 79
and publish an exhibition catalog as
well as publicize the exhibition and
a reception.
“It was a very ‘Mickey Rooney-Judy
Garland’ thing—‘Let’s have a show!’ ’’ Smith
chuckled. “They pulled it off amazingly
well. Arts Mid-Hudson was tremendously
impressed. Students from Bard, Vassar, and
New Paltz now all want to do this.’’
Ethan Kolwaite ’14 had three oil paintings
in the exhibition, but his contributions went
beyond putting paint to canvas. He painted
walls, too, as he and others prepped the
gallery space. Kolwaite said the “real-life’’
aspect of the project made it exciting and a
bit nerve-wracking as well.
“There were no guarantees it would
work,’’ he said, adding that the biggest perk
was the collaboration among the students,
whether they had pieces in the exhibition
or not.
“Roles and ideas bounced back and forth
between students regardless of their spe-
cific duties. We had a very diverse group
including athletes, fashion designers, stu-
dio artists, digital artists, skateboarders,
photographers, and more,’’ Kolwaite said.
Alex Marinescu ’14, who was a pho-
tographer for the exhibition catalog,
agreed. “The best thing is that it was an
amazing group of people who worked to
create an amazing project,
and we made bonds with
people we’ll know for a
long time.’’
Julia Papiernik ’14,
coordinator of events and
one of the student cura-
tors, managed the tight
schedule. She made sure
the catalog components
were completed and pushed construction
tasks along.
When money got tight, the students
turned to relatives or friends. Papiernik said
her father, an electrical contractor, drove
from Buffalo to Poughkeepsie to install a
creative track-lighting system.
Besides the sales of a few pieces, seeing
friends, family, members of the Marist com-
munity, and supporters from the local arts
scene at the gallery was a big reward for the
“Shaking hands with the professors I had
at Marist who came to the opening was a real
highlight,’’ noted Kolwaite.
Though the students said they were a
bit concerned about how it would turn out,
Smith had no doubts from the start.
In the exhibition catalog, the art profes-
sor wrote: “With the head and the heart in
alignment, the growth of this remarkable
band was assured.”
Marist students create an art gallery to connect to the community through their art.
Before-and-after photos show the pop-up
art gallery created by Marist art students in
downtown Poughkeepsie this past spring.
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