Where the art came from
NHIA presents to the public
By Heidi Masek email@example.com
New Hampshire Institute of Art added an “Art @ Noon” series of gallery talks and public presentations last semester as part of their exhibition program.
Formerly known as the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences, NHIA changed names in 1997 when it gained the ability to award bachelor’s degrees in fine arts. It was accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design in 2001. About 385 students were enrolled in its BFA program in December, Katie Berger of NHIA said.
Gallery director Allison Williams said she thinks the free series started when it did because they now have the resources to make it a good program, she said.
“Art is about communication ... school is about education,” and this is a way to do both, Williams said.
Part of the mission of the exhibition and speakers program is to encourage interaction with the community. The school is somewhat spread across downtown, “so being aware of the city is really important for the school,” Williams said.
“I think often people come into an exhibit and they get to see the ... appearance of the artwork,” Williams said. But often, students and others are interested in technique, materials and how things were done. The events are meant to be forums for conversations about art, Williams said.
Exhibiting artists talk about “why they choose to paint what they paint, and how they choose to paint how they paint,” as well as how they choose to exhibit, Williams said. When Marcus Green spoke about his exhibited work, he brought more paintings and drawings to show how his work developed, Williams said.
Speakers have offered information about their lives, which helps put work in historical and contemporary contexts. They also talk about getting inspiration and putting inspiration back out into the world, she said.
Visiting scholar Dr. Andrew Hershberger talked about findings in NHIA’s rare photography book collection in December. Historians study art in a different way than artists do, Williams said. Hearing from historians can give artists more insight, and familiarize others with a specific group of artists and specific time — details you might not stumble upon in a general search, she said.
Photography chair Gary Samson photographed in Cape Breton during a sabbatical and uses traditional techniques. “I’m sure he’ll talk about the history of landscape photography,” Williams said.
“We are a visual arts college, but also have liberal arts. There’s a connection between all the arts,” Williams said.
The school’s president, Roger Williams, has talked about “having students make informed choices.”
Many of the presenters work at NHIA, including Nanette Perrotte, who is performing a piece about poet Emily Dickenson. This gives the school community a chance to hear about work they may not see daily — something students “have really enjoyed,” Williams said.
Williams expects a talk from alum Andy Lucas about being in a master’s program to be popular with students planning their next step.
Berger recently booked painter Jerome Witkin, who teaches at Syracuse University, to visit NHIA April 10. He’ll critique student work and most likely give a slide lecture for the public.
Chrysalis Theatre of Massachusetts was scheduled to present Dispatches: A Carnival of Exchanges Feb. 5 as part of the program. The performance piece was inspired by artwork by Micala Sidore and Beth Beede which NHIA has exhibited. However, that event is canceled because a performer recently underwent surgery.