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BENNINGTON — W. Collective is hosting its first Bennington College student artist exhibit. Since, opening in July, owners Sarah Krinsky and Bri Magnifico have been eager to feature a student’s work from the college. As part of their mission of supporting woman-owned and small businesses, the two also wanted to support young artists and develop a partnership with Bennington College. Each with a background in the arts, Krinsky and Magnifico felt the importance of extending their retail and café space to be a place for students to feel connected and represented in downtown Bennington.

As a Bennington College alumna, “I’ve always wanted to foster more of the connection between the college and Bennington and I think the student series is the perfect way to facilitate that relationship,” said Magnifico.

“As a young artist, it is important to feel connected within your own community, and by providing students the experience to showcase their work in our space, we feel that it is not only beneficial to them, but also to the community as a whole,” said Krinsky.

The first student to be featured at W. Collective during the month of December is Xiao/Smile. Based in Suzhou, China, Smile is currently studying literature and visual arts at Bennington College. Smile’s understanding of love is what led her to create art; her work offers a narrative and photographic exploration of love through observations of human interactions, emotions, and social events. “This set of photoworks are fields and other landscapes I captured since fall of 2020. I was thinking about landscapes and comparisons of lands in the U.S. during road trips in the winter of 2020, summer of 2021, and living in Vermont,” said Smile.

Smile heard about the opportunity through a fellow Bennington College student, Reshavan Naicker, an emerging visual artist from Johannesburg, South Africa, who is in the process of completing a Bachelor of Arts focusing in visual studies. Reshavan’s work will be featured in February after returning from his Field Work Term.

“W. Collective has provided a great opportunity for students. It allows us to exhibit our work outside of an academic setting and reach more audiences. It is also a good opportunity to market yourself, which is an important and necessary step for growing as an artist. The way I’ve decided to exhibit my work has a flowing feeling that allows you to approach each piece and feel engaged in it. Overall, it has been a smooth and flexible process to work with W. Collective” said Smile.

On Wednesday at 6 p.m. the community is invited to attend the opening night of Smile’s exhibition “a field study” at W. Collective (332 Main Street). For health and safety purposes, masks are required at this event. This work will be featured throughout the month of December and all the pieces are available for purchase.


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