Our Campus is Your Canvas: Special Interest House Fosters Creativity

Kaitlin Gawkins
Assistant Online Editor

From the outside, 514 Lowes may look like your average Dayton house: a neatly-kept yard, a funny sheet sign, and a front porch with just enough room for close friends to gather. However, on every third Friday the house will go by a new name and tell a completely different story.  Upon entering 514 Lowes, you will be greeted by a diverse group of students and faculty of the Dayton community gathered in a large living room void of any furniture, with artwork covering the walls and music permeating the space, all in the name of a collaborative project called Campus Canvas. Peaked your interest? Read on.

Campus Canvas is a special interest house created by four UD students, Jessica Bullock, Mary Guida, Sylvia Stahl, and myself, in the interest of bringing people together for collaboration through art. As told by our mission statement, we this endeavor as an opportunity for UD students to expand their horizons and explore their creative side. The goal is to open up student art to the campus community, creating a space for both visual and performing arts where students can interact and discuss pieces while giving students of all majors the opportunity to share their art and collaborate with other artists.

According to Sylvia Stahl, a resident and soon-to-be-featured artist, “The space is meant to be used as a place for people to gather and share ideas, meet new friends, and try something new. We want all members of our community to get the chance to come together to de-stress and re-energize.”

When asked about their reasoning for the events to be held in the living room, rather than a studio or gallery space, the reply was simple: the goal of the house is to create a comfortable, approachable space for art to be shared and discussed with both fluent artists and people who may have never been to a gallery in their lives. In addition, a space was wanted that would accommodate for people to bring instruments and sound equipment in order to collaborate on music and share that collaboration with others in a non-threatening, causal environment.

Jessica Bullock, a junior psychology major and resident of 514 Lowes, added that the opportunity to bring art to a wider campus community is especially important to her due to the fact that her major doesn’t require her to take classes in these fields: “Music and art have always been huge parts of my life, but coming to college as a psychology major made it harder to keep these things in my life.”

Bullock takes the lead in all musical endeavors of Campus Canvas, which will include an open mic event after the gallery showing with featured artists and room for anyone to come and perform songs, play instruments, or share spoken word poetry or stand-up comedy.

She also mentioned that the opportunity to create a collaborative musical experience for others really struck home with her personally: “I didn’t have time to join choir or band in college, which I had done in high school, so I would play piano and sing in the Marycrest chapel, but it was usually a solo activity. The transition to college life made me realize how powerful collaborating and harmonizing with other musicians is, and I have talked to many other students who feel the same way.”

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Mary Guida, another resident and junior art education major, expressed that her connection to Campus Canvas goes hand-in-hand with the work that she is studying and dedicating her life to. “I would love the opportunity to help provide this experience for these students who feel their college experience is missing that artistic aspect,” Guida said.

The first event is this coming Friday, the 22nd, from 6-8pm at 514 Lowes. The event will feature artwork by house resident Sylvia Stahl, a senior photography major, followed by performances from Theresa Finan and Caleb Baron. For more details, find @UDCampusCanvas on Facebook and Instagram.

Campus Canvas events will typically be held on every third Friday of the month from 6-8pm at 514 Lowes. All are welcome. You can find Campus Canvas on Facebook and Instagram with the handle @UDCampusCanvas.
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Photo courtesy of Sylvia Stahl.