The Magic Ingredient

I was delighted to experience firsthand the power of art last week.  Our director Tina Olsen was out and while she was on the road her office underwent a radical transformation. We didn’t knock down walls or buy new furniture or repaint: we simply hung five paintings she had selected from our collection in the space. Returning from a meeting, I noticed it out of the corner of my eye and was stopped in my tracks.   It was jaw dropping: those paintings made a palpable difference in the energy and feel of the room.

This episode made me really happy because of a project I’m currently working on:  seeking works of art for a new WCMA initiative, the Student Art Loan Program (working title). Less than a year from now, instead of being an outlier, Tina will be one of many people on campus living every day with beautiful works of art.

How will it work?  We are creating a special collection of original works of art that will be available to all students for display within their dorm rooms for a semester. The project is modeled on very successful programs at other institutions including Oberlin College and Brandeis University. There is also a precedent on the Williams campus: in the 1950s Lane Faison started a similar initiative that ran for several years. Download this PDF for more details about the program and collection.

We’ll use the collection to broaden access to original works of art for students beyond art  majors and to offer students the chance to have a deep, memorable and personal experience with a work of art. We believe that art is part of everyday life and want to spread that philosophy far and wide!

If you happen to be a collector with work you’d like us to consider for the program please be in touch or fill out this form and send us some images for the Selection Committee to consider at the end of April.

If you’re a student and you’d like to get one of the works in the collection for your room, stay tuned. We’ll have an announcement during Winter Study 2014 when we plan to host an event something like Oberlin’s fun-filled affair where you can pick the work you’d like to have hanging in your room for the semester.


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