Beyond the Walls: Virtual Exhibition of “Casual” Art

Sofia Arleo ’23 curates an online exhibition of Colby student artists who make art as a hobby. Informed by her experience as a Student Guide at the Colby Museum, Arleo’s project explores the concept of the “amateur,” or casual, artist. Arleo utilizes the availability of virtual space to question what constitutes artistic accessibility in an institutional setting. 

When I first came to Colby, I was honestly intimidated by the art scene. I had been engaged in the arts in high school, but it was never my primary area of focus. At Colby, I thought the only way to get involved in the arts was to be an art major, which I had little interest in. Luckily, I quickly learned that that was not the case and I realized I was surrounded by highly creative people. 

Screenshot of Arleo’s virtual exhibition, featuring art by Mary Bevilacqua ’23 and Sophie Nacht ’23.

I’m now working with the Colby Museum of Student Guides, who are currently trying to find ways to make more informal creative spaces on campus for students. I decided to talk with students about when they made art, whether it be a random scribble or a long-term project, and what motivated them to do it. I planned to gather a collection of doodles, drawings, multimedia projects, collages, coloring books—anything each artist considered a product of their creative mind. In an attempt to demonstrate that anyone can be creative, I reached out to a number of students in the Colby community to see if they would be willing to share any kind of casual or informal work they had made. It turned out that people were excited and eager to share their art, which represented a wide range of mediums and techniques, such as collage, photography, doodles in notebooks, and pen-and-paper drawings. 

Screenshot of Arleo’s virtual exhibition, featuring art by Dom Pelosi ’23 and Mary Bevilacqua ’23.

I created a virtual curated exhibition to show the work I had gathered. I wanted everyone to be included in a setting that can feel closed off or intimidating to amateur artists. Feel free to use this link to check out the space! You can click on pieces to see who the artist is and the materials that were used. 

Screenshot of Arleo’s virtual exhibition, featuring art by Annika Hogan ’24.

If you have any suggestions regarding more spaces for casual and informal creativity or would like to get involved with the Student Guides, please email [email protected] and watch for events such as the Thursday Art Parties held each month, art nights, and more, which you can find on the Student Guides’ website.

Screenshot of Arleo’s virtual exhibition, featuring art by Sol Treister ’23 and Francie Treadwell ’23.