“When you live with a work of art, you have the time and space for that relationship with art to develop," says Christina Olsen, Class of '56 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art. "You have the time to take it in, and for your thinking and feeling to evolve as you experience it in different moods, times of day, and in your own environment, not just the environment of a museum.”
A group of ninety lucky Williams College students will have this unique opportunity thanks to the Williams Art Loan for Living Spaces, or WALLS, program. WALLS allows students to borrow an original artwork for display in their dorm room or living space, from a collection dedicated to this purpose. All Williams undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate.
The WALLS collection is made up of 90 two-dimensional artworks including photography, prints, drawings, and paintings. It was assembled by a committee of undergraduate and graduate students, donors, WCMA and Williams staff. From a 1518 woodcut by Albrecht Dürer to a 2012 photograph by American artist Curran Hatleberg, the WALLS collection brings together a diverse range of artworks representing a broad span of time and geography.
Pick-up day for WALLS took place on February 16; the first 45 students lined up outside WCMA were guaranteed a place in the program, while the remaining 45 places were selected by lottery.
A photograph by André Kertész selected for purchase for the WALLS collection by students in the Exploring the Arts program.
André Kertész, (American, 1894-1985), Trio (Trio Raczkeve), 1923, reprinted 1980, Silver print. Museum Purchase, Fulkerson Fund for Leadership in the Arts.
WALLS participants aren't the only ones who will be able to experience these artworks outside of the museum. Students with artworks in their dorm rooms will be invited to host "satellite gallery openings" for the broader student body as part of a campus gallery crawl. They will also be encouraged to share their experiences living with a work of art with their fellow students and the broader Williams College community via social media and other channels.
More information on WALLS is available at the Williams College Museum of Art website.
Top image: Students at the opening celebration of the WALLS exhibition. Photo by Kate Drew Miller.