While we were out

Tabetha DeGroot—Staff Writer

Art can bring out a side of someone that has never been seen. It can be goofy, serious, or just creative. The While We Were Out art showcase is currently on display in the art gallery until the closing reception on October 4, which all are invited to attend.

The first While We Were Out show started in 2020 by art professor David Platter.

“It was really just intended as a way to come back together,” Platter said. “A lot of us had experimented with new hobbies with all the time we were sitting at home. Then the response was so good we did it again.”

Platter said they received close to 100 submissions from around 50 or 60 artists this year.

“One of the goals I had in continuing this show to kick off the school year was to make sure people feel like they’re invited to be a part of it,” Platter said.

A wide variety of works are on display, from pottery to clothing designs.

“We’ve got sculptures, paintings, quilting, clay, paintings, photography – a little bit of everything,” Platter said. “And the fun thing about it is we get to see what this community has been up to. We get to see some visual representation of our quiet time.”

Kirsten Buiter submitted a portrait of her sister’s cat to the show.

“The Lady Butters was commissioned by my sister last year,” Buiter said. “Her cat is a constant source of amusement to us. She is very vocal and will make little ‘merp’ noises at everything. She is not the most intelligent of cats and hates the outdoors with a burning passion. You probably can’t tell that from the painting, but it seemed fitting that a cat with such disdain for the outdoors should be dressed in the clothing of an aristocrat and look out upon her domain instead.”

Jacob Olthoff’s handmade stick bass is also featured in the show. He made the single-stringed instrument from pine and Wester yellow cedar.

“As a kid, I loved watching a digital music album called Animusic and one of the songs featured a bass guitar with one string,” Olthoff said in his artist statement. “Fast-forward to the end of my second year at Dordt when, after taking some electronics classes, it came to my mind that I could probably build that bass While we were outguitar.”

At its heart, the While We Were Out show is about community.

“It brings people into awareness,” Platter said. “I’m in my fourth year at Dordt, and I still feel like I’m fairly new here because of what happened with COVID. What I personally enjoy about the exhibit is that it’s a chance to get to know people.”

Staff, students, and the family members of staff and students were all invited to participate, resulting in pieces from young kids all the way to seasoned artists.

“It’s not often one gets the opportunity to have their artwork in an actual gallery,” Buiter said. “I wanted more people to be able to see the beauty of my sister’s cat, since I’m quite proud of the piece.”

A big part of the While We Were Out show is inviting people who may not consider themselves artists to participate.

“We’re not just artists if we are in the art program,” Platter said. “There’s so much more to being a full human and this is just one of those little ways we get to do that as a community. It’s as way for us to know each other better.”

Looking to the future, the art department is planning to continue the show and perhaps have it more often.

“I look forward to continuing it,” Platter said. “Keeping the tradition going for celebrating what we’re doing as we come back together every year.”

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