It was impossible to walk around campus this month without noticing the brightly colored posters put up by The Foundation, Wabash’s new art collective aimed at promoting “socially engaged” artwork. The group, which was born out of a class taught by Associate Professor of Art Annie Strader and Artist-in-Residence Hoesy Corona, gave a vibrant lift to campus in the few short weeks their work was displayed. But with the posters now gone, what remains of the artistic scene on campus?
Of course, there are always College-organized arts events going on. In February, the theater department put on a performance of “Stage Kiss,” Corona opened an art exhibit in the Fine Arts Center and the French department launched its French film series. These events, among many others, are all free and open to the community. Wabash students would be remiss not to take advantage of them.
But this doesn’t change the fact that, by and large, Wabash is a brick-and-mortar campus. While everyone loves a good dark red—for which Wabash is well-known— the notable lack of vibrant, student-driven art, or frankly anything modern, has been lost in the annals of Wabash history.
There is a hunger on campus for more art, especially art that comes from students. And the problem isn’t the lack of talent or will—it’s a lack of exposure.
One person who bucked this trend was AJ Miller ’23 who, earlier this semester, sat out on the mall with his signature stack of bricks. Miller attracted the attention of almost everybody on campus and made people genuinely interested in his project. There wasn’t a single Wabash student who walked across the mall on those days and didn’t glance over to see what Miller was up to.
Additionally, last semester saw the rise of student directed, led and orchestrated performative art. The Scarlet
Masque’s SNL was a resounding success, packing Ball Theater for its sole Saturday night live performance. In fact, SNL was so well received by the student body that many students voiced their desire to see SNL return in the spring. SNL’s provocative temporal jokes and classic Wabash humor resonated with the viewers and, for many, was one of the highlights of their semester.
So if the interest is there, why isn’t Wabash teeming with art? There’s certainly no end of spaces for artwork, as displayed by The Foundation. Inspirational posters found their way into almost every major academic building, including the lobby of Hays and wrapped around the columns inside Sparks. These posters added a splash of color and personality to a college that is almost military in what it chooses to display on its walls.
Art makes people curious, and that can only be a good thing on a campus that encourages us at every step to think critically. What a dull world we would live in if artists didn’t create, and what an even duller world it would be if we didn’t support them.
The point is this: Wabash needs more art, and it needs more of its art to come from students. And we’re not just talking about posters. Campus would be well served by more sculptures, music, impromptu drama, photography—even dance. It doesn’t matter what kind of art, it just matters that its presence is felt.
So brothers, take up thine pencils. Enroll in that photography class or those music lessons. Embark on your own artistic journey. Let’s make campus a place where the arts can flourish, and let’s do it on our own terms.