“Starfield Flashlight” lights up WaterFire: Students to display creative works at massive art exhibition

Sierra Gorkun, Herald Contributor

Artwork lines the walls and covers the floors, illuminated by flashlights that together create a glow similar to a field of stars. This is what is to be expected from the huge upcoming exhibition that will display the work of a variety of RWU students at WaterFire Arts Center in Providence on Sunday, May 5 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Coordinated largely by Professor Murray McMillan and other professors throughout the university, this exhibit will host work from over 90 students of varying majors and classes. The work shown will include a wide range of pieces, from photography to video, video games, poetry, dances and installations. These are among whatever else the creative minds of RWU students conjure up.

WaterFire, where the exhibit will be held, is a huge warehouse with towering ceilings, gigantic windows and plenty of floor space. The theme of the exhibition, chosen by Professor McMillan, is called “Starfield Flashlight” because all of the lights in the warehouse will be turned off, and the artists and audience will use flashlights to illuminate the artwork.

When asked about what made him choose this theme, McMillan explained that since there is not a lot of wall space, much of the exhibition will be floor based, which he felt could get “really dull, really quick.” In order to combat this and to keep interest, he chose to play with lighting, something he considers to “transform a mediocre space into a space you want to be in.” He felt that with all of the flashlights, the warehouse will be “transformed into all these points of light, light which [to him] seem like a starfield of flashlights,” hence the title of the exhibition.

This exhibition is a big deal, as it is something that has never been done before at the university, according to McMillan. The huge scale, both of the space and the number of students involved, as well as the vast variety of mediums being displayed, is inspiring for the present and future arts communities of RWU. 

After talking to multiple seniors whose work will be featured in the show, it became clear that excitement is high. Seniors Ryan Kelly, Leah Hintz, Isabella Grafstein, Gina Terrasi, Marissa Peloso and Christopher Pitaro all agreed that one of the most exciting parts about this exhibit will be seeing the variety in what the student body has to offer and how it will all come together in this space.

Pitaro brought up an interesting and important point — this is an opportunity for people who are not art majors or minors to experiment creatively and get an experience they may not have gotten otherwise. The concept of experimentation and new experiences is very prevalent within this exhibition. 

“[It is] nothing I would ever expect I would be in,” Pitaro said.

When speaking with McMillan, Pitaro said that he thinks the audience should look for risks that are right in front of them. He attests to the fact that many of the students he has been working with in this exhibition are embarking on new things that they have never done before. He highlighted that the work being shown is not that of professionals, but rather young students experimenting with new ideas and passions.

This exhibit will absolutely be one worth visiting. Bring a flashlight and stop by on May 5 to experience a cultivation of amazing artwork from the talented minds of students at RWU. It will certainly be an incredible sight to see.

“Every audience member will have a different journey,” McMillan said.