It’s an unfortunate fact that one of art’s most inevitable associations, other than its own quality, and that of the artist, is its tendency to go unrecognized, and underappreciated. So much creativity is doomed to be experienced by its creator alone—and our very own Vassar student body is no different. Within a campus community of such diverse interests and skills, the artistic potential is infinite, but has thus far been contained literally and figuratively, within our campus bounds. However, with the opening of the “Emerging Artists” student-led exhibition of Poughkeepsie’s local Cryptic Gallery, our friends and classmates will get the opportunity to display their work to the wider public.
The Cryptic Gallery is located in downtown Poughkeepsie, about a ten-minute drive from campus. The venue has provided the stage for a variety of faces, from exhibitions on local murals, to highlighting up-and-coming musicians in the area. And from April 2 through May 7, the emerging faces are Vassar’s very own.
I got the chance to visit the gallery on its opening night Saturday, and was able to see the culmination of about a month’s worth of careful planning and organizing—suffice to say the effort paid off. Upon entrance, both the left and right walls display an incredibly varied collection of Vassar’s own creations. Black and white portraits caught my eye on the right, each with an uncanny ability to communicate great depth of meaning through its detailed facial representation. In the middle of the hardwood floor rested a magnified cardboard tack replica, perfectly representing the importance of the humble tool in displays such as this one. On the left were smaller, pencil-drawn sketches, whose delicate touch was always a marvel to see. All in all, it was immediately clear the great diversity in both interest and skill among the artists featured.
As I walked down the hallway, passing by the open bar and DJ stand (the opening event always made sure to set the right mood musically), I got to see the various styles of art on display. Further down the hall was a second room of pieces, consisting of drawings, as well as photographs. The submission request form’s mantra had been a desire to feature any kind of art that the artists themselves wanted to display, and this was further proof of this coming to fruition. What stood out most about the drawings was the utilization of such bright colors. Vibrant yellows and reds meshed perfectly with more muted tones. As for the photographs, the exhibition housed photos both equally impressive in their clarity and precision, with those touting a more abstract and difficult-to-discern nature.
As aforementioned, the process of creating this exhibition was anything but easy. As this was a student-proposed and student-organized event, each of the upwards of 50 pieces that now adorned the walls of the Cryptic Gallery had to be put up, by hand, by Vassar’s own. Mira Genkovksa ’23, the main organizer of this event, described how, while difficult, “The most interesting part about putting up the exhibition was laying down all the pieces and imagining the dialogue that could emerge between such different and individual works.”
Overall, the gallery stands a physical representation of the incredible talent at work right here on campus. It also provided artists the opportunity to sell their work, both allowing them to turn at least some profit for their efforts, while simultaneously giving people the chance to spruce up their dorm décor with pieces from fellow students. Genkovska, regarding its opening night happily described “I’m glad that the opening night was an occasion for students to take a little trip down to one of Poughkeesie’s galleries and get to see the ideas and creations of vassar artists displayed in a new context that goes beyond the dimensions of campus.”
The gallery gave the artists the invaluable gift of recognition, and acknowledgement that their incredibly hard work would not go unnoticed.