Free Press event draws community together


Yunah Kim

Prints made by students of the Guilford community sit out to dry at the Free Press event in the Hege-Cox Hall on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.//Photo by Yunah Kim/The Guilfordian

A wide array of pastel-colored t-shirts, stencils, carving tools and stamps filled tables in Hege-Cox Hall, where Guilford College’s Free Press event was held.

The art department hosted Free Press as an open house on Friday, Oct. 27, from 12:30p.m. to 3:30p.m. Guilford students, faculty, staff and alumni came together to share thoughts, voice opinions and create art at the student-run event. Participants also learned about the various art forms, including printmaking.

“Historically, printmaking is the democratic form of art,” said Visiting Lecturer for Art Katy Collier. “And it’s been used for that over the course of history for making protest signs, so that was our initial idea. (We were) like ‘we have this print shop, we should make some signs,’ and then it grew out of that into a student club … and just an event that the art department has embraced and that we’ve all been taking part in and collaborating on.”

Through promoting and embracing creativity in various forms, Free Press gave both art majors and other students an enjoyable and unique opportunity to express themselves.

“I love printmaking,” said Guilford alum Colin Nollet ’17, “And the fact that we’re bringing printmaking to a different area of people, and the fact that you don’t have to be an art student to come and do prints, is incredible.”

The art department and its students chose to make the art at Free Press politically driven in response to any current political and social issues that attendees wished to address.

“We wanted to do something where people could express how they felt in a positive and creative way,” said Assistant Professor of Art Antoine Williams. “And so we had the idea of doing Free Press and coming up with designs … Students organized everything and that’s actually better because it’s issues that they’re concerned with and it’s not Katy and I, as faculty, kind of dictating them about what this is going to be about.”

This community-wide event sought to incorporate political undertones, while still maintaining the creativity and freedom of expression that form the fundamental basis of art.

“I like how much of a message that this event has been able to send without much advertisement for (it),” said senior Emma Rice, a photography major. “It doesn’t advertise as a ‘we’re (going to) be activists here.’ It advertises as an art event, and that’s cool that people come here and still use (art) as an outlet for something that … ties it all together.”

Free Press provided a means for students to make their voices heard through art.

“Often times, when you are in a marginalized group, you feel like you can’t speak out or you don’t have a voice,” said Williams. “I just feel art is that way of speaking out to let people know that you are here, that you matter … it’s good to see other people who relate to you.

“But it’s also good for students outside of those experiences to come here and interact with students within those communities, and also see artwork made about that. So it’s good for people in those communities and outside to have those experiences. There’s people who have never made art in their lives and they are able to make work for the first time.”

Through embracing a diversity of people and ideas, Free Press cultivated an environment of acceptance and support within the Guilford community.

“We’re living in this really conflicting time,” said first-year Cynthia Torres. “So I feel like it’s definitely good to come out and do what we can to help each other.”