May 07, 2015
Communications and Marketing
The Living and Learning Commons (LLC), Saint Anselm College's newest residence Hall, continues the innovative blending of living and learning through new exhibition space in the form of six art cases installed on all three floors.
The cases provide additional exhibition space to showcase fine arts student, faculty, and even community work while also making art accessible to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additional workshops, programs, and future exhibitions hosted in the LLC integrate art into everyday campus life, give students an audience, and make art education available to the entire college community.
"The mission of the college is to make learning enform the pattern of our daily lives. Bringing art into our midst makes the spirit of learning visible in life." - philosopy professor David Banach
"I believe art improves our quality of life and being around any form of art on a regular basis, heightens our awareness of the arts in general," says fine arts studio program coordinator and professor Kimberly Kersey Asbury.
Asbury is working closely with the director of residential life, Sue Weintraub, an important supporter, to develop a series of events for the space for next year. The expectation is that exhibitions will directly relate to programming and studio art workshops similar to the printmaking workshop hosted by the fine arts department and the LLC in April.
The LLC's galleries were revealed to the campus community at an opening on Wednesday, April 29 during the common hour.
"Displaying art to students in their living spaces brings the power of art to life in the periphery of their world," says philosophy professor David Banach of the opening. "Art makes us see the world in new ways, in ways that reveal the hidden beauty within of all our spaces including those where we live and work."
In talking about the opening and the cases' significance, Asbury's excitement is palpable.
"It's wonderful," she says. "They [the arts] take us for a moment outside the digital realm and into the present moment and connect us with others. On a grand and lofty scale, I hope the cases/the new exhibition spaces give us another way to connect with one another as a community."
As English professor Gary Bouchard said at the opening, "never have the arts been so present" at the college.
Currently the cases showcase student work ranging in medium from pottery and sculpture to paintings and prints from a recent printmaking workshop.
Of note is the exhibition on the second floor where infographics designed by the visual communications class are on display. Through a service learning class-component, students worked with area non-profits to design graphics that easily convey each of the non-profits' work. The students worked closely with the non-profits and the Meelia Center for Community Engagement to complete these projects.
"It was great to share the design projects of the students, and at the same time salient facts about the work these non-profits are doing, with residents of the LLC and with the many people who turned out for the grand opening," says Asbury.
The exhibition space becomes a natural extension of the classroom for fine arts students learning how to develop and put an exhibition into place as well as the residents of the LLC and students participating in workshops.
College president Dr. DiSalvo has requested the arts be more visible in locations where people already gather. The new Living Learning Commons galleries and the Dana Center for the Humanities alcove galleries meet this vision.
The cases were built by a master craftsman in the college's physical plant based on case designs seen at the Met and a Yale University museum. "We've never had anything like this," says Asbury. "It's a celebration of the collaboration between physical plant, the fine arts department, and residential life."
The Living Learning Commons aims to combine the key aspects of living and academic enterprise for its residents and the entire college community. It opened in August 2014 and in addition to housing 150 students, it has classrooms, conference rooms, and study spaces.
- Read more about the LLC »
Photos by Cory True '09 and Kimberly Kersey Asbury