The Art House porch gets a makeover – The Scarlet and Black
By Lilli Morrish
According to House Coordinator Eunice Lee `23, Art House has” always been sort of fluctuating in terms of existence. ” Over the years, the house has existed more as a concept than a certain structure, occupying different buildings which are now the French House or the Food House.
Lee described him as an “outsider” on campus – Food House has meals, Farm House has a garden, but Art House, in his eyes, had no defining characteristics, which makes him immediately recognizable within the community of Grinnell. Last Saturday the residents taken a big step to change that.
At one of their bi-weekly meetings, residents of Art House discussed the possibility of painting a mural inside the house. After deciding it might be too logistically difficult, they decided to test the waters with administrative approval, setting their sights on their two-story unpainted back porch.
The residents prepared the porch and spent the weekend of October 2 welcoming all the students who wanted to take a break from their studies, roll up their sleeves and leave their mark in the house. “There wasn’t even a color scheme,” said Derin Sivrioglu `23, a resident of the house.
Instead of a pre-planned design, the porch is now covered in a waterfall of bright colors and funky patterns. Residents expressed surprise at the number of non-Art House residents who showed up to help. “Community building was not the reason we did it, but it was a consequence,” Sivrioglu said.
In the vein of community building, this year Art House hopes to bring students together to make art, regardless of their background, interests or major. Resident Annalize Rummelhart `23.5 said of life in Art House:“ A lot of people always say to themselves, oh, are you an art student? And I don’t even know if there are any art majors in the house.
The house is filled with students of diverse academic interests united by creativity, whether it manifests in writing, dancing, acting, visual arts, or anything else. Sivrioglu, a physics major who loves to dance, said she applied to live in Art House because she “wanted this environment of people who always want to create.”
Their first of many successful projects, hopefully this year left home not only an instantly recognizable multi-colored dream porch, but a stronger sense of physical belonging.
“I think it really strengthens our presence on campus and gives us the security we’ve been looking for all these years,” Lee said. Some residents left handprints on the porch in remembrance of upcoming Art House residences.
Art House is already back at work planning other events, including a Halloween haunted house and art-focused study breaks. “You deserve to take the time for this even if your homework isn’t done,” Rummelhart said. As we return to life and learning on campus, relearning work-life balance is difficult but essential to everyone’s success, and for many, making room for creative expression is a key aspect ( and cathartic) of this balance.
“It’s something we can handle, and ultimately it’s something we need,” Lee said. “We need time to take care of ourselves and others, and doing it through art is a way to connect.”