What comes to mind when you think of an “artist?” Perhaps composers holed up in the practice rooms of the Hess with sheet music that seems impossible to decipher or painters hiding behind an easel during daylight hours? These are stereotypes of what it means to be an artist, particularly at Deerfield.
However, in recent years, a wave of creativity has washed over the Valley. From the dome built outside the Koch to the Deerfield Morale Volunteers (DMV), artists are encouraged to push the boundaries of traditional work and smudge the line between imagination and reality. Deerfield’s campus, without question, is populated with artists who produce incredible work both inside the classroom and outside.
Helen Mak ’20, the leader of Deerfield’s Visual Arts Club, describes two types of unconventional artists: “One is someone who you typically would not think of doing art due to stereotypes that are still ingrained in Deerfield and beyond; the other is someone who focuses on unconventionality of products, someone who makes the product unique.”
The Visual Arts Club strives to expose the community to the interplay of art in everyday life. The club highlights this intertwined nature of art through the construction of the dome, which Mak states is “incorporating math, science, and even economics.”
This creative mix, combined with the helping hands of the community, highlights the Visual Arts Club’s goal to invite people from all walks of life to explore the beauty of art through unconventional means.
Angie Osei-Ampadu ’21 adds to this concept by describing
the role that the DMV plays as another musical program on campus: “Deerfield has an amazing orchestra and acapella groups but the DMV’s goal is to accept everyone regardless of musical ability. I believe this is where our unique motto comes from: mor ho.”
With a motto that stands for “doing things your own way” and defying the odds, the DMV took their passion for the arts right onto the stage in a stellar school meeting performance.
This organization takes pride in knowing that the athlete, the academic, the dancer, the singer, and the “none-of-the-above” all have a place in their commitment to raising morale in the Deerfield community through music.
What about individuals? The section of Deerfield artist who, in Mak’s words, “plays with the rules of artistry to create their own nuanced pieces.”
According to Piper Day ’21, “Unconventional artistry is work, when compared with the rest of the community, that stands out among the crowd.”
Day has pursued individual artistic projects such as drawing Cyndi Lauper on her blazer as a creative interpretation of the recent changes in the dress code.
Even faculty members such as John Downie, a carpenter at Deerfield and a member of the physical plant, are crafting artistic projects. Downie is about to receive a plaque in the new Health Center for painting the dowels on the blinds in mesmerizing shades of brown.
Through this mix of interconnected work, combined with the originality that only the artist can provide, individuals all around this campus are making their unconventional marks on the Deerfield community.