The spring colors blooming on Boston College’s campus complement students’ colorful artwork on display this weekend. Photographs of people and places near and far, paintings of flowers, and graphic self-portraits line select buildings for the Arts Walk at BC’s 24th Annual Arts Festival.
The vast variety of works displayed on the Arts Walk demonstrate the range of creative talents of BC students. The Arts Walk, running from April 28 to April 30, displays student artwork all throughout campus, hanging on the walls of 245 Beacon Street, Gallery 203 in Carney Hall, Devlin Hall, Maloney Hall, and Robsham Theater.
To accompany the art on display across campus, the BC Arts Council put together an Arts Walk Podcast. In this podcast, visual arts director Yifan Wang, MCAS ’22, and visual arts assistant Megan Cassidy, MCAS ’24, interviewed some of the artists whose work is in the exhibit.
Although visitors don’t have to follow a particular order, the Arts Walk begins in Gallery 203 in Carney Hall. The student artists come from many different academic disciplines, ranging from finance to neuroscience. Nature is the dominant focus of many of the pieces, including intricate paintings of flowers and a close-up photograph of delicate hands.
One work hanging in Gallery 203 was a triptych by Caroline Burke, LSEHD ’24, entitled “Manmade.” The drawing, done in pencil, spans three panels and features a bee in the middle panel.
In her Arts Walk podcast episode, Burke explained that “Manmade” was originally untitled when she submitted it as a final project for her drawing class, but she decided to give it a title for Arts Fest. The title “Manmade” was inspired by what would happen if bees were to go extinct. “Manmade” calls on people to respect the environment, according to Burke.
“It’s like a commentary on how not only do we need to respect our environment but also respect each other,” Burke said. “A lot of the disorder and suffering emerges from the hands of man.”
The artwork of Francisco Serrano, CSOM ’23, in Gallery 203 also centers around a bee. He took his photograph, entitled “Regular Day at the Office,” as he was thinking about how a bee visiting a flower is such an ordinary, yet essential, part of life, according to Serrano’s Arts Walk podcast interview.
“[It was] something so mundane—something regular that happens everyday—that we don’t even notice, but in the grand scheme of things, it is very important to our lives,” Serrano said.
Two of his other photographs, “Soaring Through the Air” and “King of Colors,” feature images of pelicans and parrots taken in his home country of Mexico and are on display in Robsham.
Serrano said that his love for photography and film has led him to maintain his practice of capturing as much as he can because his academic concentrations of marketing and entrepreneurship do not necessarily let him explore that passion.
On the fourth floor of Devlin Hall, visitors can see samples of artwork from various art classes. The gallery includes figure drawings, photos from a digital photography class, large-scale posters, painted portraits, and digital art.
The walk continues down to Robsham, where white walls are set up around the atrium to display the works of both students and faculty. The art includes drawings, paintings, and photographs, some of which were for sale.
One of the standout works at Robsham is a long, colorful art piece titled “Ozymandias” by Maxwell Schenkel, MCAS ’22. The work contains swirls of every color, with figures and eyes dispersed throughout the chaos. Schenkel incorporated philosophical musings on his work as well, writing “the subject is born in the act of observation.”
In addition to physical art, viewers could also discover music of some featured artists. QR codes hang on the wall that, when scanned, bring viewers to original music by Kier Byrnes, the director of Robsham Theater Arts Center.
Byrnes has three songs featured, including two Christmas-themed pieces called “You Can’t Slow Santa Down” and “To Mrs. Claus from Santa.” The third featured piece is a Celtic folk tune.
Byrnes described his own music as a Celtic-Americana fusion, demonstrating the influence of traditional Irish music on his original works. Byrnes talked about how Celtic music was an important part of his upbringing, as his family used to play The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners. Now, he has passed that tradition on to his children.
“It’s nice to come full circle and be playing that Irish music around my house for my children” Byrnes said.