At 185 Nassau St. stands an old elementary school. At first glance, it is mysterious. If you walk by at night—10 p.m., midnight, or even 3 a.m.—you'll see the lights are always on. Maybe you'll get a glimpse of a mysterious shadow through a 2nd floor window, or maybe you'll see lights flicker from the 4th floor attic. You'll hear weird sounds, too—the sound of an electric saw, maybe a pounding, vibrating beat. 

This building is the Lewis Center for the Arts, and home to many programs, including the Program in Visual Arts, also known as VIS, or as I like to put it, Princeton's best kept secret. Students enrolled in the Certificate and Program 2 are not only able to take studio courses, but are given their own individual studio spaces, funding for materials and individual advisers. In return, we get to make whatever we want to. It's a pretty good deal.

As a result, I've spent a good amount of time in my studio at 185. As I shape my senior thesis, a solo exhibition, it's become my second home. The building features: 

  • a film theater 
  • an acting studio
  • multiple dance studios
  • a ceramics studio
  • a darkroom
  • painting and drawing studios
  • a sculpture shop
  • digital studios (for film, photography and graphic design)
  • a typography studio/printing press
  • a printmaking studio

And, most important:

  • Student visual arts studios

I'm constantly amazed by all of the work that my peers are doing. Our studios are spaces where we are free to explore and create whatever we want. We are able to paint, manipulate, tack things onto the floors and walls. They become our sanctuaries and the places where we make sense of the issues we are thinking about, and the questions we are asking. And accordingly, they are deeply personal, incredibly inspiring and sometimes bizarre spaces. And so, to give you all a glimpse into our lives, I decided to ask my peers for photos of their studios. Specifically, I told them to "send me something weird." Interpret as you will.

Jaime Ding '16

Amalya Megerman '16

Ben Denzer '15

You can find part of his senior thesis here. 

Louisa Wills '16

Me (Wendy Li '15)

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