This Friday, March 3, Hayes House hosted an art exhibit in its basement. The exhibition, named Splinters, contained sculptures, photographs, drawings, paintings, small installations and performances, all curated by the residents of the house. The show was composed of 61 very diverse artworks and four live performances. The ceiling, floor, and wall spaces in the basement of Hayes House were filled with art, people, or lighting equipment. It was clear that there had been a lot of work involved in constructing that atmosphere. Even though the art and the lighting were exceptional, the diverse crowd was a surprise. Splinters accomplished something that professional community galleries sometimes struggle with; it is hard to bridge the gap between different groups of people.
In interview, I asked the organizers of the show how Hayes House Basement became Hayes Art Gallery. Jack Shea ’19, one of the coordinators of the show and resident of Hayes House, told me that everyone in Hayes is involved in the art scene at Bates. Shea also made sure to acknowledge the help from the Bates Musicians Union for lending the audio equipment and connecting the event to student bands.
The show also counted with the help of the Bates Arts Society for planning the event and printing some of the 39 photographs displayed in the show. This comes to show that the Hayes Art Gallery was more than a spontaneous, pop-up event. It had required a couple weeks of preparation. Splinters is the result of the collective efforts of the art community at Bates to make art alive and accessible to everyone.
Alongside with the 61 pieces, Splinters had four acts perform. The live music brought many students that would not have attended the gallery otherwise. Many students showed surprise at the diversity of the group at Hayes, especially regarding the presence of athletes. While athletics are most certainly not contradictory with artistic productions or appreciation, the surprise of many students is representative of what Hayes Art Gallery has accomplished: it provided yet another space for an open celebration of student accomplishment in the arts in an informal setting.
According to Jesse Saffeir ’20, Splinters was the perfect combination of Bates’ student life and its arts scene. While throughout the night most of the attention was towards the performances, the gallery allowed for students to be immersed with art, even if that was not their primary interest. “This is a study in art politics,” said recent winter 2017 graduate Adam Maurey in regards to the theme and turnout of the gallery opening.
According to Shea, the purpose of Splinter was “to get involved in the student arts at Bates, and to get other people excited about it.” The theme came from Peter Nadel ’19, focusing on the creation of fragmented narratives through artistic creation.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Shea mentioned his candidacy for the vice-presidency of the student government, alongside with Zach Campbell ’19, running for president. Shea mentioned that, even though his running for the position was independent from the art show, his platform does include more student involvement in the arts at Bates.
“While Splinters was just the one night, we do look to help orchestrate future events in student arts at Bates,” said Shea. Hayes Art Gallery: Splinters is one of many upcoming informal celebrations of student accomplishment and creativity in the arts.