Artists Molly Rentscher (left) and Meghan Johnson (right).

Although I’m not a coffee drinker, I l – o – v – e coffee shops!  The misty aroma of coffee hanging in the air (so much better than the actual taste), newspapers flung about, a chance to eavesdrop on some really fascinating conversations (oh come on, you do it too).   Ah, but what I love most about coffee shops is the art.   Stroll into any coffee shop worth its artificial sweetener and you’ll find an eclectic, continually rotating collection of locally-produced pieces — pieces that, to my untrained but appreciative eye, are every bit as good as the stuff hanging in fancy museums.  More affordable too, if they happen to be for sale.

The point of all this?  The UW-Madison Writing Center has taken one step closer to coffee shop-dom!  No gang, we haven’t bought the automatic roaster that so many generations of TAs have wanted (sorry).  But thanks to two wonderfully talented UW-Madison undergrads, Molly Rentscher (who moonlights as a Writing Fellow *and* a Writing Center receptionist) and Meghan Johnson, WE’VE GOT ART!!   Over the weekend Molly and Meghan installed two dozen or so of their original pieces on our walls, which mean that the reception area, computer lab, all teaching stations, and room 6172 now vibrate with color.  We’ll post pictures on the Writing Center’s Facebook page for those of you not in Madison; those of you in town need to get over here to see for yourself!   The space is truly transformed.

In the future, we’re thinking that we’ll continue to use the Writing Center’s walls to display student artwork — something that other writing centers around the country have done.   It’ll be a rotating collection of sorts, very much like a coffee shop!   Art, conversation, the busy clicks of keyboard strokes: all we’re missing is the coffee, really.

Hmmm . . .

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