Art Trade expands visual arts scene

Undergraduates bored by the blank walls of their dorm rooms will soon have a new decorating option from Art Trade, Yale’s newest undergraduate art group.

Art Trade, which began in September, seeks to involve the student body in Yale’s vibrant art scene, co-president and artist Katie White ’13 said. This weekend, Art Trade will host its debut event, titled Art Rent. A three-day exhibition of student artwork, Art Rent differs from traditional art exhibitions by allowing gallery-goers to take art home with them for a semester, White said.

“I felt like there [were] a lot of other students who weren’t necessary involved in the arts, who wanted a way to be involved in the arts,” said Dana Glaser ’13, co-president of Art Trade. “We wanted it to be about the artists getting their work out and using Art Trade as a forum to reach a wider audience.”

In addition to engaging students who are not currently involved in Yale’s visual arts scene, Glaser said she hopes to provide undergraduate artists with a venue to display their work outside of the classroom. White said that while artists and art professors see students’ work in class, students who are not majors rarely witness the full breadth of an art student’s portfolio. Although the School of Art hosts an exhibit of undergraduate work every semester, students are often unable to display as much work as they would like.

Glaser and White said that Art Rent was inspired by Jonathan Edwards College’s annual art rental event, at which JE auctions its art to students who are then able to hang the college’s paintings, posters and prints in their rooms for a small fee. But while JE’s art rental provides professional works of art to students, the Art Trade team solicited requests for artwork from undergraduates, receiving over 50 pieces from 16 different artists.

“You can engage with something by going to a normal exhibition, but when you can leave with a piece of art and have it in your room, you’re experiencing it in a much different way,” said Andrew Nelson ’13, the team’s graphic designer.

Art Rent will take place over the course of three days beginning on Friday night. Glaser said 30 pieces will be auctioned on Friday and that anyone who does not win something can return on Saturday or Sunday to select pieces from the remaining 23 works on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. Winners pay only a $10 deposit to keep the artwork until the end of the year in addition to a $5 nonrefundable framing fee. After students return their rented art in May, the artists will take their work back from the organization.

Contributing artist Autumn Von Plinsky ’13 said she feels that Art Rent will provide a much-needed way for undergraduate artists to share their work. While she admitted she is nervous about her art getting damaged, the team has taken measures to protect work with glass framing and a security deposit.

“Since it is a new program, we’re not really going to know how it will turn out until after it turns out,” Von Plinksy said.

Event organizers said they expect all 53 pieces to be rented by students and have heard positive feedback around campus since announcing the event Nov. 14. Four students not involved in Art Trade said that although they were aware of Art Rent, going to the auction will not be a priority come Friday.

Art Trade hopes to make Art Rent a regular event and to develop a permanent collection of donated works from student artists to rent out each semester, White said, adding that the group also intends on collaborating with other arts organizations on campus.

Art Rent will begin on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Maya’s Room in Silliman College.

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