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In a wide, warmly-lit room, a circle of leather armchairs faced a woman with a guitar — an auditory accompaniment for a visual feast. Curious people perused the room, leaning forward and straining their eyes to see the diverse and distinctive art that covered every wall and table.
The Harvard Psychedelics Club Fall 2022 Art Show was hosted on Nov. 13 in collaboration with the Signet Society at on Dunster St. The show featured art from Harvard community members ranging from abstract pieces bursting with discordant lines, optical illusions, and bright colors to dark, pensive portraits. In addition to listening to the various musical acts, visitors could also purchase prints of the art displayed for less than $15.
This event has run for the past three semesters, according to Psychedelics Club Co-president Max Ingersoll ’24. He said that the event creates a much needed space at Harvard for pure creativity and artistic expression without judgment.
“The show is really wonderful because it's about celebrating creativity and art for its own sake,” Ingersoll said. “A lot of the creative spaces at Harvard can be very formal and serious and inaccessible to many people. We’re trying to create a space to showcase people who just make art on their own and celebrate that in a supportive way.”
He expanded on the importance of fostering creation without a focus on its use or quality.
“Many people are really scared to make art because they feel like they'll be judged for it or of viewing art from the lens of quality. We try to create an environment where we celebrate art for just the beauty of self expression,” Ingersoll said.
Ingersoll also believes that psychedelics have an important role in the growth of this kind of creativity.
“I think in many ways psychedelics have been so important in breaking boundaries and helping catalyze creativity. So many different artists, from different traditions, and backgrounds have used psychedelics as part of their creative practice,” Ingersoll said. “And psychedelics can really help break down conceptions and ideas and allow for more free thinking, which is really tremendous and inspiring when it comes to art.”
Fiona Weir ‘26 similarly praised the quality of free thinking discernible in the art at the show.
“I love all the different types of art and how they all have a deeper thinking vibe so it's not just a pretty picture — they all have deeper meanings. It’s all really beautifully done,” Weir said.
Ben Fichtenkort ‘25 found personal connections in the pieces on display.
“There's one piece that has a space aesthetic with stars and a person standing in the middle of an empty field. I come from a place in California that's very open and I’ve had some experiences out in the middle of a field looking at stars with no light pollution and that really vibes with me,” Fichtenkort said.
Fichtenkort also appreciated the prints for sale at the show, where students could find work created in the community for cheap prices.
“The show has consistently excellent art. I really like what they have and it's a great place to get dorm decorations with gorgeous art and a great aesthetic,” Fichtenkort said.
Ingersoll stressed the significance of the Signet offering their space as a venue and helping the event succeed. He also was impressed by the work of the Psychedelics Club team that set up the event and the musical acts which helped create the pleasant atmosphere.
“The team that we had put on the show was really amazing. We worked super well together and it was a really, incredibly collaborative effort. We also really enjoyed collaborating with Signet and it was nice of them to host us and to offer their amazing space,” Ingersoll said.
The art show has become a cornerstone of the Psychedelics Club community, and creates a new space for the Harvard student body according to Ingersoll.
“It's become a really wonderful tradition for our community and our club. It is a super special and meaningful thing that we love to do as a club and we are excited to continue to try to bring this creative spirit going forward,” Ingersoll said.
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