Recent changes and turnovers have caused the Keene State College Art Collective to hit a rough patch, but the art club hopes to build itself back up and continue providing a relaxed environment for students who love the arts.
Many clubs and student organizations have been formed at Keene State College, including the KSC Art Collective. For the past 10 years, the Art Collective has welcomed students interested in any kind of art and given them a place to meet up and engage in various independent artwork projects. These projects include painting, bookmaking and T-shirt printing. Attendees don’t have to pursue an art major or take any classes in the art department, although the group encourages students to bring any unfinished art projects from their classes to the Art Collective’s meetings to continue working on them.
As explained by Michael Smoot, the Art Collective’s faculty advisor and a professor of art and design at KSC, the student-run group has worked with various visiting artists in the past and attended lectures by professionals such as a recent visit from an Ohio artist who hosted printmaking in the Lloyd P. Young Student Center and sold small projects.
Keegan O’Brien, the Art Collective’s current treasurer, explained how meetings take place at the Redfern Art Center’s third floor every Wednesday night. The group formerly met on Tuesdays but recently changed their schedule to accommodate the large number of art students who had night classes on Tuesdays, as it interfered with club meetings.
However, O’Brien stated he feels little enthusiasm exists for the Art Collective currently, as evident by the lack of attendance at their meeting on Wednesday, October 30. O’Brien said the group rarely sees much attendance as of late, except for himself and the group’s president, Alice Weil. “Right now, it’s awful. It’s just me and Alice. We’re hoping for more, but no one seems interested,” O’Brien said. Despite difficulties, O’Brien spoke positively about some of the activities he has tried while working with the Art Collective, such as acrylic pour painting and making booklets with folded paper.
Smoot discussed the group’s fluctuating levels of membership as well and mentioned the group’s attendance usually averages 15 to 20 students. “This semester we had a bit of a changeover. A lot of people graduated, so we’re trying to build back up our numbers and get more people involved in it,” Smoot explained. The Art Collective primarily uses flyers posted around campus to spread the word and drum up interest. They also have an Instagram account for posting promotional photos: @redfernrascals.
On Friday, November 15, the Art Collective will take part in the Creative Time Summit, an international series of lectures via video conference. The KSC campus serves as one of the satellite locations for the event, and the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery on campus will screen the video lectures and performances from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day. The Creative Time Summit is open to anyone on campus.
The group has not enacted many major art projects recently, but O’Brien and Weil hope to recruit people interested in animation and video-making projects. Weil could not be reached for further comment.
Smoot explained the Art Collective previously had several thousand dollars in funding allocated to them, but Keene State’s system for distributing funds to clubs has since seen a major change: all money set aside for clubs is put into a single pool of funds, and groups can individually apply to request contributions. For the Art Collective, funding chiefly goes toward materials for projects, including paper, drawing utensils and book-binding supplies.
Lonnie Hiltz can be contacted at