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Open Studio Event at Make/Shift Space

Grinnell College's studio arts faculty will conduct a free and open studio event on Saturday, April 23, for people of all ages and skill levels interested in creating drawings and collages.  

The event, which is free and includes all materials, will run from 1 to 3 p.m. at Make/Shift Space, 928 Main St., Grinnell.

Make/Shift Space is a temporary downtown space for Grinnell College art students and faculty to hold rotating exhibitions, offer workshops for the community, and work on art in an off-campus setting.

For more information, contact Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art.

Make/Shift Space to be in Masonic Temple

Grinnell College has leased the vacant main floor of the Masonic Temple at 928 Main St. in downtown Grinnell, for March, April, and May. During this time, art faculty members will teach several classes. Students will develop a variety of works and installations, then showcase them during pop-up shows.

The first pop-up show at Make/Shift Space will feature works by students in an advanced seminar on Site Specificity and in Intro to Sculpture. Set for Thursday, March 17, the event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 5 to 7 p.m.

The lease with the Masonic Lodge, which occupies the upper floor of the 99-year-old brick building, provides about 5,000 square feet. The new space will give students the opportunity to spread out and create installations and other large works that will not fit in the Art and Art History Department's current facilities in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

"The Make/Shift Space offers students a valuable opportunity to have their work away from a formal academic setting and out in front of the public," said Matthew Kluber, associate professor of art and chair of the department. "It changes they way they see the relationship of their work and ideas to the wider world — they begin to see themselves as artists."

Additional pop-up exhibitions featuring works from an introductory course, a collage course, and other studio classes as well as free workshops for community members of a variety of ages will be scheduled throughout the rest of the spring semester. Possible workshops and demonstrations include 3D printing, "Re-Mix: Collage as Cultural Practice," screenings of videos made by art students, talks by student artists, and drop-in-and-draw sessions.  

"It's exciting to gain such a large space downtown, where we will have high visibility on Main Street," said Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art. "We are happy to be activating a quiet space that has been vacant for more than two years, and we want to involve local residents in this new venture.

"For example," Chen added, "we want passersby to stop and look into the large, storefront windows to watch students creating works of art. Having a public audience will inspire our students and elevate their projects."

All studio faculty and staff of the Art and Art History Department have been invited to make use of the Masonic Temple. In addition to Chen and Kluber, faculty and staff members initially working there will be Andrew Kaufman, associate professor of art; Lee Running, associate professor of art;  and Andrew Orloski, studio art technician.

About four years ago Chen's sculpture class conducted pop-up shows at two downtown locations, 925 Broad St. and the basement of 800 Fourth Ave. The space was donated by Bill Rozendaal of Rozendaal Rentals and Bruce Blankenfeld of Westside Diner, and arranged through local real estate agent Matt Karjalahti. "It was a wonderful experience for the students," Chen recalled. "We had more than 100 people attend the show. We are eager to expand on that success in our new and larger venue in the Masonic Temple."

John Kalkbrenner, assistant vice president for auxiliary services and economic development at Grinnell College, negotiated the lease for the Masonic Temple space. Although no plan beyond the three-month rental has been made for a more permanent College space downtown, he said, "We are treating this as an experiment. The studio art faculty will be tracking usage and other factors that will help us determine whether this pilot program is successful."

Grinnell College welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Make/Shift activities open to the public all happen on the first floor of the Masonic Temple Building. Visitors are encouraged to use downtown street parking. Accommodation requests may be made to Grinnell College Conference Operations and Events.

Striking a Balance

In their first year at Grinnell, twins Vrishali Sinha ’19 and Vidushi Sihna ’19 led women’s golf to its third consecutive conference title. For added emphasis, they finished one-two individually at the Midwest Conference tournament in October.

The Sinhas’ games were “on” from the start of the season. In their very first competitive rounds for Grinnell, Vrishali and Vidushi shot the second and third best scores in program history at 74 and 76, respectively. Grinnell team scoring records fell three times in the first three tournaments.

The twins’ first-year success was not entirely unexpected. Both Sinhas have practically lived on the links since they were 10. As teens they were among the best women players in the Indian Golf Union, the governing body for amateur golf in all of India.

Vrishali and Vidushi had always planned to attend college together, but some were surprised that they would opt for Division III golf at Grinnell. The choice initially stunned their lifelong golf coach in India.

“Our coach wanted us to go Division I,” Vrishali says.

“When he found out Grinnell was Division III, he was like, ‘Why?’” Vidushi says.

Wanted a Balance

The Sinhas’ father fielded the incoming appeals from Division I programs, but Vrishali says, “I have a lot of friends who went to Division I and they did not have a really good experience. We were always certain that we wanted to go Division III so we didn’t even consider the Division I and II offers.”

“We are really uncertain whether we want to turn professional or not,” Vidushi adds. “You sacrifice your academics if you go Division I.” 

So, does that mean academics were always their first consideration in choosing a college?

“I wouldn’t say first,” they say in unison, laughing at the common occurrence in their conversation.

“… but we wanted a balance,” Vidushi finishes.

Coaches Influential

One of the Sinha sisters sets up a shot while the other watchesGrinnell golf coaches David Arseneault and Jennie Jackson can attest to the importance of tools like Skype and FaceTime in communicating with student-athletes, especially when prospective students live more than 8,000 miles away.

“We were in contact with a few coaches, and out of all of them we liked Coach A. and Jenny the most,” Vrishali says. “I think that influenced our decision to come to Grinnell a lot.”

The Sinhas also talked with teammate-to-be Lauren Yi ’18 to find out about life at Grinnell from a student perspective, Vidushi says.

“For me, golf and academics are at par, but at a Division I, academics become secondary,” Vrishali says. “People who I know (in Division I) have to choose an easier major so that they can balance out the study and travel.”

“Also, there is just the one tutorial requirement here,” Vidushi says. “I want to do a double major, and I think it’s much better that way.”

Liberal Arts Options

The Sinhas are a year away from declaring majors, and when asked what they might presently choose, they answer together: “Econ.”  

“I want to double major in studio art and econ,” Vidushi says. “There are a lot of artists in our family. My mom’s an artist, my brother paints, I paint.”

“Oh, no,” Vrishali says about the possibility of two majors. “I’m fine with one.”

Both sisters say they’ll probably return to India after college, but for now they are comfortable keeping long-term plans open-ended.

“That is also why we came to a liberal arts college,” Vrishali says, “because you have so many options here. I’m taking an intro to psych course and that’s pretty interesting, so I might do something related to psychology, or stick with econ, I’m not sure.”

Responding to Change

The Sinhas seem relatively undaunted by all they’ve experienced in a few short months, including the differences in American golf courses, the stateside approach to team play, and an academic system that requires a new way of doing things.

“Academics here are tough, definitely,” Vidushi says. “The education system in India is a lot different from what it is here. Out there we just have …”

 “One exam…” Vrishali says.

“…twice a year,” Vidushi finishes.

“You have to do well on your exams because that is 100% of your grade,” Vrishali explains.

Dad Likes Decision

The biggest adjustment of all, however, was coming to a place the size of Grinnell from one of the largest population centers in the world.

“Delhi is huge,” Vrishali says. “It’s a lot colder in the interaction between people, which is more formal, like, just when it’s required or necessary. Out here the people are a lot more friendly.”

While their coach back home now has come around to approving of the twins’ decision to come to Grinnell, their father was never in doubt.

“Oh, he’s happy,” Vidushi says.

“My dad is so happy,” Vrishali says.

Vrishali Sinha ’19 and Vidushi Sinha ’19 attended The Shri Ram School in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. 

 

Sculpture Studio

The 2,200 square feet sculpture studio is designed to accommodate needs of all students in four levels of sculpture: Art 142 Introduction to Studio: Sculpting Processes, Art 242 Sculpture, Art 342 Advanced Sculpture, and Art 491 Senior Project.

General Work Area   
The general work area is outfitted with 6 maple topped work benches with vises and drawers, a long work counter along the whole south end of the studio with storage shelves under, a large sink with shelves, and an adjacent wedging counter, 3 maple topped work counters with cabinets and drawers under, two miscellaneous work tables, an island work station with maple top, base lockers, and four vises. Additionally, there are tool lockers and a vented paint locker.

Saws    
For woodworking there are a band saw, a table saw, a dust collector, a combination belt/disk sander, a planer, and a drill press located in the main studio. In a separate welding room there are three welding stations with venting hoods for electric (2 Mig welders) and gas welding with the appropriate welding stands. Also, it is equipped with a chop saw, an angle grinder, a bender, an anvil, a vise, a bench grinder, and a bench with storage.

Grinding Room and Spray Booth Room    
Two other service areas are a grinding room and a spray booth room with built-in compressed air. The studio opens out on the work yard, shared with the ceramics studio, where stone carving and other appropriate processes can be done. The working environment in the studio is excellent with state of the art lighting (track and fluorescent) and ventilation and climate control which allows windows to be opened.

Ceramics Studio

Students at Grinnell College work in a state of the art ceramics studio to create handbuilt, wheel thrown pieces. The 2,200 square foot studio is equipped with 12 electric potter’s wheels, 3 extruders and a slab roller. Students use gram scales to make glazes from scratch in a well-ventilated glaze chemistry alcove. Students assist in stacking kilns. We bisque fire in a Skutt kiln and glaze fire ceramic work to cone 10 in a 40 cf Alpine gas kiln. There is an adjacent patio area where students can do raku firing.

Studio Art

The Studio Art Department provides curricular opportunities for the development of technical skills, aesthetic judgment, and historical understanding. Participation in studio classes stimulates critical thinking and refines creative potential in the visual arts. Students who major in art may elect a studio concentration. Majors are expected to enrich their concentration through selected courses offered by other departments.