Puja Thapa / Administrative Executive Editor

The Keene State College Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery featured more than just art at their community event on Tuesday, February 4. The Thorne is merging with KSC’s department of art and design this semester. This is in an effort to better include students and the broader community with activities going on at the Thorne. 

KSC President Melinda Treadwell discussed the importance of the arts to any city or region. 

“We have a brilliant number of faculty and staff who are committed to the arts here at Keene State and our students expand that talent everyday in the work that they do. We need the community to join us to expand that work and to help us amplify our commitment to the arts in this region,” Treadwell said. “As I work with the mayor and as we talk about the future of the Monadnock region and the needs of the workforce development, we all know the arts are part of what attracts people and keeps people in the region.”

The Thorne hopes to not only become more accessible to the community but also to become more centered around KSC students. 

“Why did we restructure? [Because of] the faculty in our art program, and the students in our program, there was inspiration [to] create a more student-centered experience,” Treadwell said. “For the future of Keene State, we have to be more student-centered. What attracts and retains students is the opportunity we provide them with to learn in our classrooms, but to extend that learning beyond our classrooms as well.” 

KSC is also introducing a new major in art management. The restructure of the Thorne will offer more lab spaces for students to learn about how to create curatorial exhibits and to engage with nationally and internationally renowned artists. 

According to Dean of Arts, Education and Culture Kirsti Sandy, one way the Thorne is welcoming students and the community is through school visits.

“We’ve had some whole buses of students come through. We want students here; we want elementary students and middle school students. This will make a difference for them. It may give them the confidence they need that they can study art,” Sandy said. “In fact, art and design is the biggest [area of] growth in my entire school. We’re in a time of challenging enrollments, but we’ve seen only growth in art and design in the past 10 years.”

As for opinion on the restructure of the Thorne, two attendees at the reception, Keene community member and local artist Mohammed Daoudi and Academic and Career Advisor Beverly Behrmann, both thought the restructure would be good for KSC and for Keene.

“I think the show is really cool and I’ve enjoyed the artwork. I think it’s a good thing they’re doing. It was a good evening,” Daoudi said. 

“It’s great to bring the community and the school together,” Behrmann said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to be involved with all aspects, whether it’s doing a show or archiving or cataloguing. I think there’s a lot of exciting student opportunity here.” 

KSC Provost Ockle Johnson said that a commitment to the arts is something KSC has always worked toward upon becoming a liberal arts college, and this restructure is another way to continue that mission.

“We do not at all lose sight of the fact that we have a strong mission to our community and to support the human need for arts in our community,” Johnson said. “We hope that you will come back often and interact with our students and talk with them and learn from and teach them. As we continue to be of service to the community, we encourage and welcome feedback and direction of what your needs are so we can make sure we do the best we can to provide for your needs in the arts.” 

This semester at the Thorne there will be the spring BFA and BA student show, a children’s literature collection show, and a faculty show, among other events to be announced in the future. More information on the Thorne can be found at https://www.keene.edu/tsag/. 

“I ask you to join us in the future, there’s more to come,” Treadwell said. “Arts are the main vehicle for us; it’s our language.”

Rachel Vitello can be contacted at

rvitello@kscequinox.com.