On Saturday, October 28, the entire Haverford community flooded into VCAM (Visual Culture, Art, and Media), the newly renovated Ryan Gym. VCAM Director and Associate Professor of English Laura McGrane emphasized the hard work, innovation, and philanthropic generosity necessary to the 95,000 hour design and construction project. In her dedication speech, she noted that “VCAM represents an intersection of the physical and the curricular in which modes of seeing, understanding, and remaking the world are activated in productive combinations.” When President Kim Benston cut the dedicatory ribbon and the massive pair of red scissors sent the pieces fluttering down, he and McGrane announced the beginning of a new chapter in Haverford history.
The afternoon of festivities began with a roundtable discussion “Creative and Critical Practice for a Complex World.” Laura McGrane facilitated the roundtable, which featured Assistant Professor of Visual Studies Christina Knight and Visual Media Scholar Vicky Funari alongside Andrew Milstein ‘84, president of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Brendan Wattenberg ‘06, managing editor of Aperture Magazine, and visual artist Francie Hester.
VCAM’s Create Spaces featured two new exhibitions for visitors to discover: American Queen and Sounding the Archive. In addition to exploring the various creative corners of VCAM, guests enjoyed connecting with VCAM faculty, staff, and students. The Dining Center provided an array of delightful treats, making use of the Community Kitchen.
Kent Watson, Makerspace coordinator and technician, organized Maker Art Space to show the dynamic applications for its 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, and 3D scanners. He offered visual aids to illustrate the potential of the space. These included a collection of students’ 3D printed forks from a recent Fusion 360 design workshop, desktops displaying videos of the machines in action, and some of his own creations. One student even demonstrated how to create vinyl stickers with the laser cutter. Drew Cunningham ‘20 “was amazed by the creative capacity of the Maker Space.”
The seats of the screening room were full when the lights went down for the Student Film Showcase. The showcase highlighted students’ past cinematic endeavors supported by the HCAH and alluded to VCAM’s potential for extending greater opportunities in the future.
As Laura McGrane emphasized in the conclusion of her speech, she looks forward to more collaborative projects between the Hurford Center and VCAM, “with all the curiosity and excitement that we ourselves feel about this extraordinary addition to the College’s ever-evolving educational environment.” Inviting the greater Haverford community to survey and celebrate the space, VCAM’s dedication marked an important day of growth the arts at Haverford, the John B. Hurford ‘60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, and for Haverford’s creative culture as a whole.
MacKenzie Somers ’21, History of Art Major, Virginia