A Collaborative Exhibition Between MCLA and BYU


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) exPRESS is pleased to announce that it will present the collaborative exhibition, “BEE IN HER BONNET: Works in Progress,” featuring the artwork of students and faculty from MCLA  and Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah.

The public is invited to visit this free exhibition, on view in the exPRESS gallery, 49 Main St., through Sunday, Nov. 20.  

This project, made possible by a grant from the Hardman Initiative Fund, showcases the creative output of MCLA and BYU students and faculty, who visited the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum and other Berkshire cultural institutions from Oct. 6 to Oct. 11, when they participated in an intensive exploration of both the Suffragist movement and book arts. 

The group also traveled to Crane Paper Mill to learn how to produce cotton paper.  In addition, workshops held at MCLA provided participants with additional opportunities to exchange ideas, enhance their knowledge of book art techniques, and generate works that respond to specific aspects of the Suffragist movement.

“BEE IN HER BONNET: Works in Progress,” are the products of these creative exchanges.  Included in the exPRESS show are pressure prints paired with a descriptive word, which convey each creator’s relationship to clothing and how clothing functioned both symbolically and instrumentally during the Suffragist era.

These pressure prints will eventually be made into two books, one for MCLA and another for BYU, as well as two sets of traveling prints for each cohort of artists to exhibit at their discretion.

Other works on display are the products of a creative process called “Plunder books,” in which participants contributed assorted items, including tins, maps, wire, felt, tea bags, poker chips and hangers.  Each artist then selected items from this assortment in an order based on a number they randomly selected from a lottery. 

Using the items selected during this process, each artist created a book-like object. Like the pressure prints, all of these plunder books testify to their respective creator’s relationship to clothing and their ruminations on the roles of clothing in the Suffragist movement.

The collaborative exploration to which “BEE IN HER BONNET: Works in Progress” testifies is ongoing.  The students and faculty from both MCLA and BYU that contributed to this exhibition have returned to their respective institutions, but have continued their creative exchange.  Artists from both institutions are currently engaged in a print exchange that has enabled them to create additional hand-made paper and books that explore the Suffragist era and the activities of the women and men involved in the movement.  These ongoing efforts will culminate in the creation of books that will also be available for exhibition.

ExPRESS is a project of MCLA.  The exPRESS gallery, 49 Main St., is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.  

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system.  MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship.  MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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