Student Side Hustle: Noelle Park has a Heart for Art (Curation)

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Published October 2, 2019
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The Montclarion
Curators Noelle Park and Chai Silva pose with the artists by the gallery sign. Photo courtesy of Edward DuCoin

In the job market, the requirement of having experience in your respective field before your big break is becoming increasingly popular. Many students may find this to be a challenge, as their lives are made hectic enough by the required academic-social life of a student.

Noelle Park, a senior double major in art history and German studies, has added the impressive effort of curating an art gallery into her already busy student schedule. Park has co-curated an art gallery, entitled ‘O,’ with Montclair State alumna Chai Silva at the Index Art Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Park found out about this internship opportunity from Montclair State’s own professor, Asha Garpat, in her 3D design class. As if to return the favor, Park chose Montclair State students and alumni to be featured in her art gallery.

“I wanted to represent Montclair BFA (Bachelor in Fine Arts) and MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) students [and] share their work with the Newark community,” Park said.

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A piece by Bhakti Gundani.
Photo courtesy of Edward DuCoin.

Park and Silva were able to collaborate to make their vision a success.

“Noelle is the one that got the space and dealt with a lot of the language,” Silva said. “I did more of the promotion.”

As you might expect, curating the art gallery was not an easy task. Silva claimed that they only had two and a half days to set up their gallery.

“It was hard, but I love dedicating my time toward projects like this,” Park said. “It allows me to be creative and create an experience for artists they will never forget.”

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A piece by Bhakti Gundani.
Photo courtesy of Edward DuCoin.

The art gallery itself was connected to another art gallery, and encompassed a large ballroom-like space. Five different artists occupied this space and displayed their art for their audience to see.

Art pieces included photography, sculptures, paintings and a live dance performance. The artists stood by their masterpieces, in order for the public to pick their brains. As all of the artists represented the Montclair State community, the gallery displayed the various talents that are cultivated and brought to life in the art program.

The most important aspect of curating, other than making sure all runs smoothly, is keeping the artists happy.

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Bhakti Gundani poses by her art in the gallery.
Photo courtesy of Edward DuCoin

Bhakti Gundani, a Montclair State alumna, presented a rather unique corner of the exhibit. Her art depicted skulls on lamps, eyes in landscape and a Lord of the Rings quote to tie them all together.

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A creepy lamp created by Bhakti Gundani.
Photo courtesy of Edward DuCoin

“Noelle and Chai pulled the best out of the artists,” Gundani said.

‘O’ is Gundani’s second gallery to date and she expressed confidence that this would help get her name out there.

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Abigail Diecidue poses by her art in the gallery.
Photo courtesy of Edward DuCoin.

Abigail Diecidue, a senior fine arts major and business minor, presented a 2D style representation of different themes ranging from relaxation to a car crash. Diecidue loves the publicity that she will receive from ‘O’.

“It’s cool to be in an art gallery not sanctioned by the school,” Diecidue said. “Anything outside that makes you more marketable.”

Diecidue also appreciates that Park and Silva gave Montclair State students a chance to express themselves.

“It was so cool to take Montclair State specific artists,” Diecidue said. “It’s a small community doing big things elsewhere.”

Park and Silva have truly created a fascinating and beautiful display of Montclair State’s own artists. If you want to give it a visit, ‘O’ is operating until Oct. 10.

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