Into the Woods We Go

With NCC art students leading the way

By Katherine Noll, photos by Brian Shaud,

If you've never been to the East 40 Woods, you're missing out on the most idyllic, relaxing spot at Northampton Community College's Bethlehem Campus. A woodland Into the Woods Pop-Up Art Showlabyrinth path winds its way through tall, leafy trees that are adjacent to the East 40 Community Garden. This beauty became even more enchanting with the help of fine arts students on the evening of April 13.

The woods were host to a pop-up art show thanks to a collaboration between Kelly Allen, associate professor of English and advisor to the Good Growers club, and Bruce Wall, professor of art.

"The initial idea was to create something for the community garden, but I didn't see a way to do that quickly," Wall said. "Then I spotted the woods and asked 'What's that over there?' Walking in, I imagined I could see flying monkeys and a hobbit scurrying around. It's an enchanted forest!"

When Wall returned to the studio, he shared the idea of the "Into the Woods" show with his ARTA 260 Individual Studio/Professional Practices students.

"The first rule was we would do no harm," shared Wall. "We wanted the show to complement the organic nature of the garden. The students took that very seriously."

The show features several pieces from each student:  a work to be displayed the night of the pop-up show only, and a piece that will remain in the woods permanently.

"Students were worried about the chemicals in acrylic paint and treated wood. They found different ways to do things and materials to use," Wall said. "Everything is designed to stay and decompose. It's part of the art."

Benjamin Rader, a fine arts major, made a wind chime sculpture that doubles as a bird feeder out of recycled items: a cake tin and copper pipes.

"It's eco-friendly," Rader said. "It's not going to pollute the earth by staying here."

Paul Lewandowski created a bird house out of hemp yarn, newspaper, and sticks. Kenneth Bush made a sculpture that will serve as an insect house. Paintings and photographs of nature scenes, dream catchers and giant spiders also decorated the woods.

Kelly Allen was happy to see the space used for this purpose. "This is exactly what the East 40 is about. It's a place for experiential learning. This show is a reflection of the East 40 and how it relates to our environment and the college community. I've seen more people in the woods tonight than I have ever seen before."Into the Woods Pop-Up Art Show

"Everyone should know about these back woods and the garden," Radner added. "It's very relaxing."

And thanks to art students like Radner, more people do!

Students who exhibited in "Into the Woods" are:

Kaitlyn Berdini
Kenneth Bush
Abril Diaz
Danielle Dronebarger
Paul Lewandowski
Benjamin Rader
Sabrina Rattigan
Ostara Frost Sherman
Samantha Short
Annie White

View more from the art show in this photo gallery.