Next Tuesday, the Houghton Eco Reps will host an Arts and the Environment Expo. The event will feature food, live music, crafts, and an art competition, according to Sustainability Office Intern Claire Brower ’18. Brower said that the expo will be “a winter and nature themed event with a little Christmas thrown in there.”
The Arts and the Environment Expo was held for the first time in the spring of 2016. The expo provided a way to connect artistic expression to “our relationships with others and the environment,” according to the Houghton website’s promotional page. This year, Brower said that the vision for the expo is the same, but that the event will also boast a seasonal emphasis.
All food at the event will be free and will complement the winter-and-nature theme, according to Eco Reps members Melissa Hodde ‘20 and Ashleigh Dernier ‘18. Dernier said that she is most excited about making owl cupcakes that use Oreo cookies for eyes.
Brower added that the expo will feature live music. She said that the lineup will include Arthur Ward ’18, Andrew Hutton ’18, and Ky’asia Blanchard ‘20. Brower also noted that there will be winter poetry readings during the event.
Everyone attending the expo will also have the opportunity to participate in crafts and express their own artistry. Eco Reps member Bonnie Huegel ’18 said, “We’ll have a table or two devoted to some simple crafts that you can make on the spot. We’ll be making Christmas ornaments and air fresheners, and there will be nature- and winter-themed coloring pages.” She continued, “I’m most excited about one particular craft I found for bird-friendly decorations. They’re ornaments made from pressed birdseed that you can hang outside, so the birds can have their own edible Christmas tree!”
Eco Reps leadership team member Brielle Kwarta ’19 also said, “I think that an arts and crafts activity will be a great de-stressor for many college students during the final days of the semester.” She added, “Many of the crafts can be used as a Christmas present or as a decoration for dorm rooms, common spaces, and the townhouses.” Since the expo is focused on increasing campus consciousness of environmental issues, Kwarta added that many of the crafts will use recycled materials such as “pine cones, scrap ribbon, and unused Popsicle sticks.”
The main focus of the expo is to connect artistic expression environmental involvement. During the event, according to Brower, participants will be able to browse a thematic student-juried art competition. Artworks of various media that follow a winter-nature theme will be displayed for students to browse, and each person is encouraged to vote for the work of art they find most compelling. At the end of the night, gift card prizes will be awarded to the works with the greatest numbers of votes. Dernier said that both art majors and non-art majors are welcome to submit pieces for the art competition. Hodde, who expressed her plans to submit photography to the competition, said “I’m really curious to meet students from the art department who enjoy working with nature as a subject.” She continued, “Since the campus is pretty much in the middle of the woods, it’s intuitive that we would have a lot of nature enthusiasts at Houghton, but there isn’t a centralized way to get together with them outside of Eco Reps and the special interest outdoor clubs.”
The Arts and the Environment Expo will take place in the Van Dyke Lounge on Tuesday, December 5, and will last from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. All are welcome to attend.