Crafts Center prepares to debut first ‘Spring Art Show’

The Crafts Center, which is hosting the event, is pictured on Dec 3, 2014. Emma Kindig / The Tufts Daily Archive

This semester, the Daily has covered a myriad of events, from faculty-sponsored performances such as “Art Flashes” to student-organized exhibitions like “NASTY WOMEN x Tufts.” These events not only showcase the talent of Tufts students, especially since Tufts acquired the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) last summer, but they are also networking opportunities for artists by providing them space to express and practice their creativity.

The Crafts Center is a TCU-funded, student-run group with a similar mission that has been around long before the SMFA merger. Located in the basement of Lewis Hall, the Crafts Center allows Tufts community members to use arts and crafts materials and supplies at no cost. It also organizes workshops on topics ranging from 3D jewelry to screen printing.  

In light of recent community-organized arts exhibitions, the Crafts Center has decided to organize one of its own. However, the center first had to implement structural changes.

“Originally, the Crafts Center [was] run by two leaders. After that, the roles were separated and everyone had their own responsibility,” first-year Quincey Kras said.

As Head of Event Planning, Kras — together with senior SMFA student and Crafts Center President Conor Ward — thought of ways of reaching out to the Tufts community.

“We wanted to organize a big event before the end of the school year, so we thought of organizing an art show that showcases student work that hasn’t necessarily been done at the Crafts Center,” Kras said. “We wanted students participating from the campus and also SMFA, especially since we now have a special connection with that school.”  

The first steps were taken exclusively by Kras and Ward. After meeting together, the two discussed what the show was going to be like and came up with a general concept. The primary steps taken afterward were reaching out to students and thinking about logistics. 

With many student exhibitions taking place around the area, members of the Crafts Center thought of ways to differentiate their show. Kras emphasized that the show included the Tufts community as a whole.

“We wanted to make sure to include everybody in our show: Tufts students, SMFA students but also Tufts teachers who want to participate … Basically anybody who is a part of the community,” Kras said.

The Crafts Center drew inspiration for the event from hidden talents around campus.

“We just want to showcase the amazing artwork all the people do on campus, because you don’t even know, the person sitting next to you in class could do pottery or painting,” Kras said. “We just wanted to make sure that people were aware of the hidden talent here. Just because you don’t go to SMFA or you are not majoring in art does not mean you’re not an artist.”

That being said, the center initially did not get enough submissions on time, which led it to extend the submission deadline. Artists can now submit pieces until April 10.

“As of now, we have about 10 solid submissions, which sometimes include multiple works. I’m also in contact with six or seven more people who [have] yet to send their work to me,” Kras said on April 5. “We’re hoping to have around 25 submissions by the time of the new deadline.”

Unlike other exhibitions, the Crafts Center does not have a concrete theme for its show. In fact, the show’s title, “Crafts Center Spring Art Show,” sounds broad and vague. The decision to abstain from a theme was a conscious one made by Kras and Ward.

“I didn’t want people to not submit because they feel like their work doesn’t fit with the theme,” Kras said. “It goes back to the idea of all-inclusivity we promote: We want everyone, regardless of the experience and background they’re coming from.” 

Additionally, the organizers want to provide a space where artists can sell their work.

“We wanted to promote artists on campus and let them be able to show their work. Part of the deal is providing the opportunity to sell their work, if they want to,” Kras said. “The main idea is to support these artists’ future endeavors. It would be nice to be rewarded. We know that not everybody is interested in selling their work, so it is an option. Not all works are on sale, but some of them definitely will be.”

The center has decided to expand on the idea of organizing a student exhibition by including additional entertainment. A number of Tufts student performers and bands — including Liv Green, Tony Nguyen, Smoking Babies, Bubo, Frederick Swine and Space Ink — will be performing. In line with the Crafts Center’s traditions, there will also be free pickling workshops. As the show will take place on a Sunday evening, the center wants to take full advantage of the spring weather and the center’s surrounding outside space.

“If the weather permits it, we’ll have the event outside,” Kras said. “We’ll be displaying a mix of work: So far, we have received paintings, drawings, video installations and screenprints. Besides the art, we’ll have Anna’s Taqueria coming. We’ll have free burritos, food and drinks.”

“Crafts Center Spring Art Show” will take place Sunday, April 16. Any member of the Tufts community is encouraged to submit their work by April 10.