MEHLER | The Importance of Fine Art in the Dormitory Experience

As Cornell now requires sophomores to live in on-campus housing, more students will spend their second year at Cornell in the West Campus houses, the new dorms within the North Campus Residential Expansion and in the heart of Collegetown in South Campus. While many may lament forgoing off-campus and being forced into dorms, there remains plenty of opportunity to personalize the Cornellian living space. By no means am I encouraging students to violate Cornell’s housing policies regarding tapestries, flags and anything else that may violate fire code. However, creativity finds its home in constrained spaces with limited coverage of common rooms and bedrooms permitted. I wish to share just some of the fine art that composed my friends’ and my Hans Bethe dorm for our sophomore and junior years.

On Making Bad Art (and a Lot of It)

But maybe bad art is more fun than eating vegetables — partially because you can hold it, and especially because it’s just for you. I write down my friend’s dream featuring me playing basketball. I write down what my sister wore to her sorority date night. I write down what the soup was at Zeus and where I ate it. My journal is an explosion of the mundane, sprinkled with heartbreak and days when the sun shined bright enough to lull away the sonorous pitch of outgrowing things and places again and again. 

Plein Air Painting and Reflecting Constant Change

Painting en plein air is an old way of breaking out of the so-called predetermined results of painting in a studio, the sort of thing famous old painters did in French gardens while wearing excellent hats. But you can make it whatever you like. Consider it an exercise in presence.

How Television Becomes a Tool for Targeting Voters

Audiences cannot avoid being targeted by political campaigns, but as long as they understand how their viewing preferences influence the perception of their identities or opinions by political campaigns, they will be able to recognize how and why they are targeted by such political advertisements.