Jack O’Lanterns of All Trades Celebrated at Student Event

Posted: October 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm, Last Updated: October 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

Rachel Semenov's Make Over, illustrating a pumpkin's journey from patch to pie, won first place at the Extreme Pumpkin Makeover. Photo by Colleen Kearney Rich

It may have been a few days early, but Halloween was in full swing on Oct. 27 in the Art and Design Building. That’s when the Mason student chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, hosted its fifth annual Extreme Pumpkin Makeover in the Sculpture Studio.

The AIGA students pull out all the stops when it comes celebrating this holiday.

There were two bands appearing — The Summer Floods and Piecycles — and tons of food, which was donated to the student organization by a number of businesses thanks to the efforts of student Ramla Mahmood. People were in costume. The building was decorated with bales of hay to tie into the fall theme.

And then there were the pumpkins.

First, there are some misconceptions about these pumpkin makeovers. As one person said, “You know there isn’t going to be people carving up pumpkins there, right?” Got it.

In fact, the student group is pretty explicit in its guidelines. Submitted works must be pumpkin themed, and all fine arts mediums are accepted. Only a handful of this year’s entries actually spent any time in a patch, and all the winning entries were, well, inorganic.

The entries were judged by School of Art professor Helen Frederick, who directs the school’s printmaking program.

Ramla Mahmood's Command X, foreground, and Aimee DeSoto's Pun Kin actually employed the real thing. Photo by Colleen Kearney Rich

First place went to art major Rachel Semenov for her ink-and-watercolor accordion book titled Make Over, which illustrated one pumpkin’s journey from patch to pie. A variety of mediums, including photography and drawing, were represented in the other winning entries.

Senior graphic design major Andrew Curtis organized the event, and according to the group’s faculty advisor, it couldn’t have happened without him.

“Andrew saved the Pumpkin Makeover this year,” says Don Starr, AIGA-GMU’s faculty advisor. “Planning got off to a late start this year, and this evening wouldn’t have happened if Andrew hadn’t stepped forward.”

Starr said he thinks the event is important for the students and the school. “This is one event that brings together artists of all the different programs within SOA. I hope it will be around for many years to come.”

He would also like to increase awareness of the annual event and encourage students from other schools and colleges to take part.

“People have asked if they could submit a poem or other written work as an entry,” says Starr. “They certainly can. It would be terrific if we could get more Mason students to participate.”

The sponsors of the Extreme Pumpkin Makeover were Mason’s Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services, Glory Days Grill, Hard Times Café, La Prima Catering, Merrifield Garden Center, Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza and Zoe’s Kitchen.

To see more photos of the event, check out the AIGA-GMU Flickr account.

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu