The pandemic has been a hardship for many at Muhlenberg and across the world, but it has also been a time for growth and realization. From baking bread to crocheting, the pandemic unlocked new abilities and hobbies for many ‘Berg students. Tessa Barrett ‘23, a biology major and a studio art and chemistry double minor, utilized the pandemic to grow her relationship with little plush animals. The artist did not buy these little friends, but instead decided to make them with various materials.
“I started making a lot of the plushies over the quarantine and so I had over a 100 of them in my house that I sewed because I was so bored. So really the need to get rid of that many stuffed animals was the reason I did it [the art fair] last semester and I liked it so much that I did it again,” stated Barrett.
The work of the artist also included paintings, and repurposed polaroids that didn’t come out picture perfect.
“I also have these Polaroids that I repaint the Polaroid if it doesn’t come out well from the camera so that way I’m not wasting the piece,” said Barrett.
Barrett was one of the several artists featured this past weekend for the Muhlenberg Comedy Association (MCA) Student Art Fair in the Great Room in Seegers Union.
“It just seemed like a really good way to kind of put my business out there because our student body is so intrigued in each other’s interests.”– Sarah Hansel ‘24
The MCA Student Art Fair was organized by Ashley Hilary ‘22 and Chrissy Nagrowski ‘22. Hilary stated, “Chrissy Nagrowski and I collabed together and Chrissy was performance logistics and I was art logistics! It was a culmination of sending out a Google survey, securing the space, and contacting the artists and groups about events specifics! It was a super fun process, especially working with Chrissy!”
The work of some of these creative students was highlighted last week and now these artists had the opportunity to showcase their artistic pieces in-person. The event was filled with drawings, earrings, jewelry, masks and more.
Sarah Hansel ‘24, another featured artist, displayed her recent hobby with a display of handmade necklaces.
“I started my business just over break, and it was actually right after they sent out an email asking if anyone was interested. It just seemed like a really good way to kind of put my business out there because our student body is so intrigued in each other’s interests. I knew that it would be a really good way to take off and just start selling,” Hansel stated.
For artists to be included in the fair, they had to fill out a Google Form sent by Hilary. “As far as getting artists, we sent out a few campus-wide emails and asked people from past sales to join! We got over 20 people interested. It was amazing,” Hilary declared.
Hansel was impressed by the turnout and thought it was an “awesome” event. The artist even discussed the possibility of exploring bracelets or other forms of jewelry with comments from peers and patrons.
Another artist, Charlotte Alexander ‘25, displayed her love for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with various stickers and prints of popular characters. One popular character featured in Alexander’s pieces was Wanda Maximoff, fresh off of the excitement for the new “Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness” trailer.
“I have a lot more stickers which I’m very happy about and prints. Everyone’s just been so sweet. Even if they haven’t bought anything they’ve said, ‘Woah your art is so amazing,’ and everyone here, in general, is just so talented. It’s an awesome environment right now,” declared Alexander.
The Great Room hosted more than just artists and their small businesses, but also a wide variety of performance groups thanks to the direction of Nagrowski. A cappella groups united to showcase their talents and to add more excitement to the festival.
Britney Jara ‘23, a performer for CODA, mentioned, “I thought the festival went great! It was our first time performing in front of others with our new members and I think this helped them see how great it feels to see other students and performance groups supporting each other.”
“Seeing the many a cappella, dance, comedy groups and more, elevated the festival in a way where students were dancing and grooving out while they were buying earrings or masks from their fellow peers,” continued Jara. “It really was just a festival that showcased how unique and special Muhlenberg students are.”
Jara supported Nagrowski and complimented the artist’s practical items in addition to their work organizing the different production elements. Jara purchased her third item from “Hooked on Chrissy” and was satisfied with the quality clothing articles crafted by Nagrowski.
“It’s no surprise that people gravitated to their table during the festival; they’re extremely talented and created art that people can use and wear every day,” stated Jara.
“It really was just a festival that showcased how unique and special Muhlenberg students are.”– Britney Jara ‘23
Additional performances included the Chaimonics, Top Naach, Damsels in Excess, the Dynamics and even more. The groups brought a lively energy as students performed in the open space and filled the sale with live music, dance and jokes.
Jacob Forman ‘24, a member of the Dynamics, declared, “It was great being able to see all these unique artists come together to show off their talents. The diverse art was really great to see come together in one space.”
The performance groups were an exciting part of the festival, but also caused a little mayhem in the Great Room. Alexander mentioned how it was a little difficult to hear her patrons amidst the singing, tapping, and other performances. Alexander still enjoyed the pieces and thought the groups “added an atmosphere of fun.”
If students missed the art festival, there should be more opportunities in the near future to support the talented performance groups and to highlight the work of various artists.
“Just go to the next art sale! Hopefully it’s going to be [in] April [or] May and it should be a very good time,” concluded Alexander.