Merrimack College Student Artists on Exhibit at Campus Gallery

“Alter/Altar” is a McCoy Gallery exhibit that features Merrimack student artists.

What moment in time forever changed your previously-held beliefs, goals and convictions, either positively or negatively?

That’s the question Allyson Lewis ’17, administrative assistant for Merrimack College’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts, asked students when she began curating her exhibit, “Alter/Altar.”

“From the moment we are born, we embark on a lifelong journey to curate the altars of our lives,” Lewis said of the exhibit’s concept. “These altars are created and curated by the countless distinctive elements that influence us over time – tangible or intangible. They are molded by monumental life achievements or personal hardships. These personal altars hold a sacred space for us to nurture and energize the self, illuminate our deepest desires and light the ways for the life we want to live.”

Thus came “Alter/Altar,” an exhibit now open in the McCoy Gallery at the Rogers Center for the Arts that features digital pieces, sculptures, graphic designs and more created by 12 Merrimack students. An opening reception with light refreshments will be held on Dec. 1, at 5:30 p.m. and the exhibit runs through Friday, Jan. 19.

Isabella Hague ’27, a sports management major, drew two charcoal portraits of Boston Bruins players for the exhibit.

“To me, they are not just athletes playing my favorite sport, they symbolize my career choice, my escape from stress and one of my many passions,” Hague wrote in her description of her pieces for the exhibit. “During COVID, drawing and ice hockey helped me to find something enjoyable about quarantine. My passion for the Boston Bruins has grown and has propelled me toward my goal of working for the organization after college.”

Carly Taylor ’25, a graphic design, and art and art history major with a concentration in studio art, contributed a sculpture made from hundreds of origami butterflies of a fellow Merrimack student.

“This piece is all about change and hope,” Taylor explained in her description. “I wanted to use the butterflies as a metaphor as butterflies represent hope and rebirth. It’s about all the hardships you face in life and how you still have to get back up and use those experiences as a way to grow.”

The response from students to “Alter/Altar,” Lewis said, is incredibly encouraging.

“I’m very stressed out but it’s very fun,” Lewis said days before opening. “I originally told (Director of the Studio Arts Program) Johnathan Latiano I would be really jazzed if we got five students (for the exhibit). There was a high opportunity for crash and burn.”

Luckily, “Alter/Altar” has stayed the course. Lewis hopes the exhibit will inspire more students to showcase their art, which in turn would lead to more juried exhibitions in the future.

“I think opportunities like this are a great way to bring the students together,” she said. “The fact that we got this representation shows that this is an avenue students want to go.”

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