With a tightly packed schedule and seemingly endless responsibilities as a college student, it can be easy to get caught up in the rush of academics and become consumed by stress. We sometimes become so focused on our work and our future that we neglect to take care of ourselves in the present, trading interesting experiences for a quick catnap or a mundane lunch break. But what better way to become inspired than to take a look at the hard work and talents of others, especially when they are conveniently located on the Rowan campus? The several art and photography exhibits on campus showcase local talent and offer a thought-provoking place for tranquility in the midst of a campus that’s always vibrant with chatter and activity.
Westby Hall, located near Science Hall, is home to a small gallery that regularly features new work and allows students to come and go as they please. Since it is conveniently located amongst other classroom buildings, popping in to check out the art in between classes couldn’t be more convenient. A ten-minute walk-through is all it takes to cover the whole exhibit, though it is brimming with inspiring work. Checking out each piece in the gallery leads you around the perimeter of the room until you are back at the door where you first entered, off on your way with a newfound appreciation for the work featured.
The most recent exhibit in the Westby Student Gallery that I stopped by to see was FW1917, a collection by local photographer Ashlyn Napoletano. This arrangement of tastefully minimalist fashion photography played with the idea of the huge effect technology and pop culture from various time periods has on society. It showcased simple, yet stunning, photographs with an even more intriguing purpose behind them–what Napoletano described on the poster for her exhibit as “an alternate future via the synergy of old tech and vibrant utilitarian fashion.” While the clean, white walls displayed the photography, the actual props used in the photos — various pieces of technology from past decades — were thoughtfully arranged in the corner of the room nearest the entrance, an intriguing invitation to passersby to come on in and see what they were about.
The second gallery on campus, the Rowan Art Gallery at 301 High Street, located inside academic building, offers an even more peaceful and intimate interaction with the art. The most recent installation features multimedia pieces of an exhibit by Philadelphia artist Jay Walker, called “Archetype,” that showcases two dimensional wooden figures dressed in meticulously detailed colorful duct tape designs. The pieces of this exhibit almost cover the height from the floor to the high ceilings, and their bright colors catch the light of the picture windows nearby, making this quiet space the perfect escape to solely focus on the art and feel at ease. In a previous interview with Rowan University, Walker said regarding his art, “I challenge myself by taking what is in front of me and making it into something interesting,” and Rowan students can do the same with just a brief trip to one of the galleries on campus.
Whether you’re an art major, an engineering major, a business major or anything in between, Rowan does a great job of welcoming all students to explore the ever changing art exhibits on display throughout campus. The galleries provide students with an opportunity to do something interesting and unexpected with their free time.
By: Nicole Cier, East Brunswick (Middlesex County)
Writing Arts major