Residence Halls? More Like “Boring White Walls”

by Ian Odell | Contributing Writer

3 mins read
white empty frames hanging on wall
Photo by Angela Roma on Pexels.com

Drew University has a small problem dealing with art. There is simply not enough of it. I cannot help but feel that our common spaces are a bit bare. While I appreciate the work put in by our wonderful CAs to decorate some of the residence halls with different themes, there is certainly something left to be desired when it comes to our lounges and hallways. Blank walls littered with small signs reminding students not to consume alcohol and clean up after themselves don’t exactly reflect much personality or pizzazz.

Photo of the Korn Gallery from drew.edu

My proposal is simple: make spaces in residence halls for students to display their art. Any student would be able to contribute, provided their entry isn’t in violation of any rules. We could rotate the art weekly or monthly, and encourage themes based on the time of year. One or two glass display cases could be placed in any lounge.

 The advantage of putting art within the living spaces is that students could actually take the time to stop and appreciate it. Personally, I would be far more likely to spend my mornings drinking coffee or tea in the lounge if I could look at some interesting art while doing so. 

If putting art in residence halls isn’t enough, perhaps we could take a page out of UC San Diego’s book. According to their website, you can find a delightful “Graffiti Art Park” on their campus. Now, while it does include the word “graffiti”, the administration need not be concerned– no vandalism is occurring here. Instead, students regularly paint large plywood boards and display them in a rotating outdoor gallery. For a very low cost, a valuable new space is made for students to experience art. Additionally, it is possible that giving students more space to express themselves might cut down on the amount of carved-up desks and trees around campus. 

I’m perfectly aware of the response that may arrive regarding this piece—“The Dorothy Young Center already displays students’ art!”. However, the majority of students at Drew aren’t majoring in art and don’t spend much time in the DoYo, unless they’re going to see a performance of some kind. At most, I’ve spent a couple of hours at the DoYo since coming here. Putting art close to home would ensure it’s given the attention it deserves. Perhaps seeing the work of our talented artists regularly would also encourage non-artistic students to try it themselves. Regardless, it is better than staring at a blank wall. 

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