New art exhibitions and installations were celebrated at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery on Friday, Feb. 17 as part of a reception that was open to all members of the community.

The reception was a way for the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery to “mark new exhibitions with food, live music and good company,” according to a press release sent out by Director of the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery Brian Wallace prior to the event.

“The goal is to get people from the campus and the community together to look at some art together and have conversations,” Wallace said.

“At Home: A Teaching and Learning Installation” was an interactive installation featured during the reception. Shari Osborn, curator of the installation, said that part of her inspiration for her installment came from an exhibit she saw at Walt Disney World in the 1970s.

“I saw an exhibit called ‘The Carousel of Progress’ and it’s showing those who are in the audience what it’s like to be in the 1900s through about 1980,” Osborn said. “I’ve always thought about that and what that meant to me and how it inspired me to want to be a historian, to work in museums where I could have those pieces, they could be collected and then others could see them.”

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

According to Keene State College’s website, Osborn’s installation offered, “additional perspectives on the ideas of home and culture addressed in 2125 Stanley Street/Traces.” “At Home” was also developed in collaboration with the Horatio Colony Museum & Nature Preserve, which is made clear by Osborn’s explanation of the installment.

“I recreated a piece of the Horatio Colony House using wallpaper of today [and] pieces of today, but they’re artifacts. And on the second side, which is the more modern, it’s the 1970s, everything I put in that space can be replaced today in your home by your cell phone,” Osborn said.

Examples of these items included an alarm clock, a globe and a typewriter.

Osborn also spoke highly of Katharina Rooney, who made the new window installations being used at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery titled ColorCycle.

“It was actually a challenge, but the inspiration is to create color, to create joy with color and an abstract project that just lightens up the room and makes it fun to go in,” Rooney said.

Rooney added that usually, museums are galleries and could potentially be interpreted as bland or boring, so that she wanted to create something that’s different. Rooney used recycled plastics to develop ColorCycle, something she described as a challenge.

Nonetheless, Rooney said the colorful nature of her work corresponds with the amount of color found in some of the other exhibits and that “there’s a lot of great interaction going on.”

Collaboration was something that Wallace described as key when referring to the number of exhibits being shown. Wallace highlighted a number of the examples of teamwork that took place, including examples with the Redfern Arts Center, the Horatio Colony House and even Rooney’s ColorCycle exhibit, which Wallace said was a collaboration with “dozens of people from around the community to make little art pieces that she then worked into the overall final piece.”

Local band Signals Over the Air played a short set beginning at about 6 p.m., providing visitors of the gallery a chance to step away from the art and enjoy some live entertainment. For Eddie Gomez, a fan of the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, the exhibit was enough entertainment by itself.

“I’m a big fan of the installation work,” Gomez said, “I love interactive pieces that you can touch.”

Gomez added that interactive pieces provide viewers with a chance to get engaged in a whole new way, as opposed to just observing.

Michelle Aldredge, another attendee of the event, conquered with Gomez’s praise of the installation work. Aldredge also added that she enjoyed the mixture of styles throughout the venue.

Kate Cote, a 2007 alumna, who said she was a fan of the watercolors on display, said that the mixture of different types of arts is a good way to draw different types of people into the venue.

“It helps to have so many diverse types of art, as well as the music going on; it kind of broadens everybody’s outlook and appeals to different people,” Cote said.

Crae Messer can be contacted at cmesser@kscequinox.com