“Light is a source of inspiration,” says Williams art major Nicolei Gupit ’13. “And I wanted this space to be inspirational.”
The space to which she’s referring is a small room called Studio 1781 in Williamstown’s Mount Greylock Regional School. Gupit spent the week between exams and Commencement transforming the space by painting its white cinder-block walls with words—and images of—light.
Quotes from books she remembers reading in high school—Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, Menna van Praag’s The House at the End of Hope Street, and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice—reveal the many feelings light can evoke. The walls show different forms of light: a prism, the sun, the artificial light of a traffic signal.
“I wanted there to be a direction that leads you to the center,” Gupit explains, pointing to the large sun she painted in the center of the far wall. She says she hopes the students who use the space will feel it is for them.
Studio 1781 is a retreat for Mt. Greylock students seeking help with their writing. On any given day, Williams students work as writing fellows in one-on-one tutoring sessions with Mt. Greylock high school students. The studio is part of the Williams Center at Mt. Greylock, a partnership between the college and the school that supports initiatives in writing as well as math, science, and the arts.
“We hope that Nicolei’s work will inspire future collaboration between Williams and Greylock artists,” says Kaatje White, director of the Williams Center, adding that a mural in the library and exhibitions in the school gallery are in the works. “This project is just one example of the many ways the Williams Center sparks rich learning opportunities for students and faculty from both the college and the school.”
Greylock English teacher Kate Brown, whose classroom is next door to the studio, says she’s excited about how the room has transformed. It once felt more like a custodial closet than a student space, she says, and now, “I think the mural makes this space the student’s own. When they see it, they will know it was done for them.”