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The Scarlet & Black

Faulconer gallery provides unique yoga venue

Until Faulconer’s newest instillation, Molecules that Matter, is fully installed, yoga classes are being held in Bucksbaum’s Sebring-Lewis Concert Hall.Many Grinnell College students with a shared passion for art and relaxation may not realize that these two interests can now be combined with yoga classes in the Faulconer Gallery.
Taught by instructor Jenn Mavin at 12:15 p.m. every Thursday, these classes not only provide a way to center oneself in the midst of a busy day, but also allow students, faculty and community alike to enjoy the exhibits that Faulconer offers.
“I think sometimes people will say, ‘What does yoga have to do with art?’ but I love the way the breathing and the seeing work together,” the Curator of Academic and Community Outreach at Faulconer, Tilly Woodward said. “I think sometimes people spend more time looking at the artwork when they’re doing yoga than they would while just casually walking through the gallery.”
The impetus behind the more regularly scheduled yoga-in-the-gallery program is the recent partnership between the Wellness Committee and Faulconer. Not only does yoga in the gallery provide a unique venue for classes but it is also the only time each week that yoga classes are offered south of 8th Avenue, providing those with a limited amount of time the opportunity to attend a class.
Erica Seltzer-Schultz ’12 and Lauren Flynn both ’12, the leaders of Yoga Club this year, are both excited about the increased number of classes in the gallery.
“It’s a really cool way of blending an art form with physical movement,” Seltzer-Schultz said.
The blend is so thorough that the class will modify to accommodate the space. “The instructor often changes the class to revolve around the art,” Flynn said.
Currently, Faulconer Gallery is changing exhibits. The new exhibit, entitled Molecules that Matter, interprets ten molecules discovered in the past century through both the scientific and visual arts, as well as through the social sciences.
“I think the new exhibit will be wonderful with the yoga program,” Woodward said. “It’s interesting to contemplate how very small things have very large impacts. Breathing is a very small activity, but it’s a very vital activity. I think that same metaphor can be applied to the molecules themselves.”
Although this new exhibit is larger than many that the gallery shows, space is reserved for the yoga classes. Lesley Wright, the gallery director, emphasized that the benefits of yoga in the gallery go both ways.
“It gives us a way to attract people who might not be as regular at viewing art,” Wright said. “If we can get them comfortable that this is a space for them, whichever way they first start to come here, then we feel like they’re more likely to take a chance and come to other programs.”
This is exactly what happened to Ellyn Ochs ’13, who attended the yoga class in Faulconer during NSO week. “If I think the exhibit is interesting while I’m doing yoga, I would be more likely to come back and check it out later,” Ochs said.
Overall, the yoga-in-the-gallery program has been well received. While the classes in the gallery had previously consisted mostly of staff, with a more consistent schedule this year, increasing numbers of students have attended each week. Woodward and Wright also expect the new exhibit to generate interest. “In general, there’s just a lot of enthusiasm,” Wright said.

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