Art takes center stage in and out of Wilson classrooms

April 03, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Art is chemistry and chemistry is art.

That was the theme Wednesday in Deb Austin's chemistry lab during one of more than 20 events and presentations at Wilson College's third annual Arts Day at the college's Chambersburg campus.

The purpose of the day's events, said Philip Lindsey, chairman of the school's fine arts department, is to give students an opportunity to see how the arts are part of all disciplines.

There's a lot in chemistry that can be connected to art, Austin said.

"Why do we see the color in paint? Because of the different wavelengths of light being absorbed and transmitted," she said.


"Why does oil float on water? Because it's less dense," she added.

Students showed how oil and water react by creating marbleized images on paper. They dropped oil paint into a pan of water, swished it around and laid a piece of white paper over it. The paper picks up the image created by the floating oil, explained a junior working on the exhibit.

Across the lab, another student was showing the effects of years of acid rain on statues. The rain eats into the sculptures over time and the damage it causes can never be repaired, Austin said.

That exhibit used marble chips and hydrochloric acid to make its point. It only took a few moments for the acid to reduce the chips to powder.

Jayna Reggi, a freshman, said she and two fellow students got the idea for the acid rain exhibit on the Internet.

Wilson hired Jan Ruby, an arts professor from Shippensburg (Pa.) University to serve as a juror to judge artwork done by Wilson students. Lindsey said 44 pieces out of more than 100 were selected for a special gallery showing.

Like 19th century Paris, which displayed rejected works by such greats as Monet and Degas in the Salon of Refusals, Wilson set up its own gallery for the works of the students rejected by the juror, Lindsey said.

The day's activities began at 8 a.m. at the college stables. The event, called "Dancing with Horses," featured performances by the Wilson College Dressage Team.

Among other events were readings from minority literature; an open mike hour with Michael Cornelius, the school's creative writing professor featuring works by the students; an architectural tour of the campus; a operatic performance by soprano Elizabeth Turchi; an exhibit of Spanish culture and a children's art display.

The day ended with the college's mounted drill team performing an eight-horse drill.

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