Geneseo Late Knight hosted the highly anticipated annual event “Art After Hours” on Saturday April 23 in the Knight Spot.
During this event, students were given an old recycled vinyl record to paint. Participants followed careful step-by-step instructions from artist Aimee Bergvall. Bergvall owns a business called “Zest 4 Art” where she teaches group classes on painting vinyl. “Art After Hours” brings Bergvall’s painting classes to Geneseo, where students are able to enjoy a normally $30 lesson for no cost. With the seating limited to only 40 people, students enthusiastically started lining up by the door 20 minutes prior to the event.
Not a single seat was left empty during “Art After Hours.” Each student was given a blank record, a palette consisting of an assortment of paint colors and three high quality paint brushes ranging in size. Through this class, participants learned how to paint the Seuss Spruce tree, which is one of Geneseo’s defining features.
Before the event started, students were able to look at some of Bergvall’s work that was on display around the room. Bergvall’s artwork left many students astonished and overwhelmed by her talent. But Bergvall’s true talent shined through during her lesson, as she was able to make almost everyone into a decent painter through her helpful instructions.
Bergvall began the lesson by having students paint a sunset background—yet another feature for which Geneseo is famous. While Bergvall instructed, students were able to pick music to play on an old fashioned record player, which was a nice addition to the overall vinyl theme. Bergvall skillfully offered advice on the type of strokes that should be made and how to blend the colors together.
In addition to being a great painter, Bergvall also proved to be an excellent teacher. For an incredibly unartistic person, I was able to create a decent painting by merely following Bergvall’s detailed directions. Bergvall was also helpful when I dropped and spilled paint all over myself—twice. Her patience is one of the many traits she possesses that makes her a great teacher.
As the night wore on, it was interesting to see how each student’s paintings varied. While the lesson Bergvall taught was on painting the Seuss Spruce, it was more of a suggestion rather than mandatory. One student painted the Geneseo pavilion overlooking the sunset instead of the tree. Another painted cartoon trees from The Lorax in the background, displaying their sense of humor and creativity. Art is an expressive medium that never fails to impress, with each painting looking completely unique.
When students finished their paintings, they had the opportunity to see the name of the record on the back. While this was a trivial part of the night, it was a cool reminder that a beautiful painting could be made out of something that would have gone in the trash. My painting was made from a vinyl of Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4 in F Minor,” coincidentally one of my favorite composers.
With the recent cuts in the art department, workshops such as “Art After Hours” are incredibly important to maintaining an art-friendly environment at Geneseo. The event showcased a wide variety of student talent and interest in art, something that may not have been seen otherwise.