Photo: Chris Battaglia

Waterfall Arts helps college student graduate

Journalist Kendra Caruso for the Free Press covered our recent interaction with Belfast resident and Hampshire College student Soren Moesswilde. Here’s an excerpt:

Soren Moesswilde just graduated from Hampshire College in western Massachusetts with a major in art. But he might not have made it without the help of Waterfall Arts.

Hampshire shut down early because of COVID-19, leaving Moesswilde few options to finish or show his final project. That’s when he reached out to Waterfall Arts. The Belfast resident said he was able to buy most of the materials to finish his project from home, but he needed a space to present his semester-long project to teachers.

Hampshire College is a proficiency-based school, which means formal grades are not calculated. Rather, teachers decide if a student passes or fails. Moesswilde’s teachers agreed to allow him to graduate after seeing his presentation, he said.

Chris Battaglia, Waterfall Arts’ marketing and development manager, said the nonprofit was excited to help Moesswilde. He said one of the facility’s goals is to assist the community in that way, and the story shows how adaptable the place can be during the coronavirus pandemic. “We thought it was a great and clever way to use the space that has not been used,” he said.

The larger of Moesswilde’s two pieces is a series of mounted shapes with a backlight that creates contrast between light and dark spaces. His other piece connects a series of mounted hexagons, giving an almost honeycomb impression or perhaps the shape of an atom on the periodic table.

Battaglia said the student’s piece was down-to-earth and gave the impression of connecting humans with nature, which the artist said was his goal.

Moesswilde wants to use his art to highlight the connection between people and nature. He said he thinks people have become too disconnected from the environment, and he wants to create art that is environmentally sustainable.

“I’d like to make things and design things with sustainability in mind, kind of like this nature and technology connection,” he said. “That’s something I didn’t address very well in my work with regards to material, so that’s something I want to do a little bit more research on.”

He is a little sad that he won’t get a formal graduation ceremony, but said he is glad he can share the day with his family during the virtual commencement. He is keeping in touch with friends through video calls and hopes to be able to visit them after social distancing orders are lifted.

Waterfall Arts is considering displaying the graduate’s project once it reopens to the public, Battaglia said. And as for what is next for Moesswilde, he wants to take some down time after graduation to work odd jobs with a friend, travel and create art, he said.

“Maybe I can paint houses with a friend, whatever I can find, I suppose,” he said. “I’m hoping to build out a van and spend some time in that. I enjoy rock climbing and traveling around, so I’d like to do some of that. And that’s pretty much it for the next couple months. After that I’m not exactly sure, but I’ll find some way.”

Link to original article on VillageSoup website.

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