Section: Arts

Art Organization of Kenyon seeks to redesign NCAs

Art Organization of Kenyon seeks to redesign NCAs

Emily Sakamoto | A&E Editor

In a daring attempt to break up the monotony of North Campus Apartment (NCA) suburbia — so nicknamed for its seemingly never-ending repetition of cloned apartments — the Art Organization of Kenyon (AOK) has set a lofty goal of painting the outside of the sterile white houses that line North Campus in eerie uniformity.

AOK is a newly approved student group which looks to facilitate the installation of new art pieces on campus as well as foster a group that doesn’t necessarily cater to artists specifically.

“We just felt that as a community, art was not very present for as many students and faculty that are interested in it, to some degree,” said Sara Rahimi ’16, co-president of AOK. “We thought it’d be an interesting aspect to add physically to the space that we live in, but also just a way to bring the community together.”

Co-President Chloe Friedman ’16 agreed about the group’s intentions for community building. “A direction we see our club going in is collaboration with other clubs and organizations,” Friedman said. “I’ve talked to people from other organizations that involve using art to promote social justice.”

As far as breaking up the mendacity of the NCAs, Friedman explained, “Our project ideas for the NCAs need some sort of long-term proposal … but we talked with people about having inside an NCA either a mural that can change yearly or decorating outside the NCA.

” The group has applied for theme housing for the 2014-2015 academic year and plans to begin revamping the NCAs with their own living space first.

While the NCA spruce-up is a long-term goal for the group, the near future holds promise. “We just started up an online zine/Tumblr blog for students to submit work,” Friedman said. “It can be class doodles or stuff they’ve been working on for class or just for fun. We want to make it casual.”

The group was not originally granted full student group status when they applied because Student Council was worried about potential overlap with programs from the Gund Gallery, and the College’s official Art Installation Committee. They have only recently had their probationary period lifted, and their first group meeting last week pulled nearly 22 interested students. Individuals in attendance ranged from the expected studio art majors to a single film major, as well as writers eager to contribute to the Tumblr, which the co-presidents hope will be filled with interviews conducted with artists, both on and off campus.

Rahimi and Friedman first began to question the existence or need for an art group on campus during Associate Professor of Art Read Baldwin’s figure drawing class. Historically, Kenyon did in fact have an art club.

“We asked Read if there was any kind of art club on campus, or had there ever been one,” Rahimi said. “He replied that there used to be, but it kind of dissolved or became pretty dormant.”

Thus, the two roommates set out to facilitate artwork in a different realm than anything the College currently has. The group’s next initiative will be to prepare an installation for Summer Sendoff.

“Our next step is to think of a new project [or] installation and apply for a grant for the supplies. Hopefully it’ll be presented at Sendoff,” Friedman said. “Whether it be a booth or something like that. Something we can present [to the student body].”

Overall, AOK is looking toward more concrete artwork to be enjoyed and created by artists and non-artists alike. “There’s a lot we want to do, but we’re obviously just getting started,” Rahini said. “We’re just really interested in getting anyone who is eager to do some sort of art; they don’t have to have any experience.”

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