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Chris Bell ’11: Open, Learning, Creating

Chris Bell ’11 with the resin-cast columns he made for the Bergdorf Goodman...
Chris Bell ’11 with the resin-cast columns he made for the Bergdorf Goodman holiday display. The columns were made to look like they’re carved from ice.

Design and Technical Theater major Christopher Bell ’11 was recently back at the Redfern, working behind the scenes with Pilobolus for their big show in October.

Shawn Ahern ’10 introduced Bell to some of the Pilobolus executives, who said they were interested in having Bell intern with them, and he jumped at the chance. “The first time they performed at Keene State in 2007, they really inspired me, and I knew how great it would be to work for them,” Bell said. ”I really enjoyed their organic process and how family oriented they are. I was able to learn many different sides of the business while also channeling my own creative energy into something tangible.”

Since Pilobolus is a world-renowned company that works with artists all over the world, Bell’s work with them opened the door to many important professional connections. “I hooked into a group of artists that were creating the holiday window for Bergdorf Goodman, the luxury-goods department store on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, and they were looking for someone of my skill set,” Bell explained. Not long into that project, it became apparent that Bell would need some help. “I mentioned Gary Beisaw ’12 to them. They had a phone interview with him that night, and Gary flew out from Texas a few days later.”

“The project involved a process called resin castingm which was I was not too familiar with,” Bell recalls. “It required lots of mold making and very precise chemistry to create pieces of art to be used in the display. I never expected to be doing anything like this, but my professors at Keene were very adamant about staying open to new things and to keep challenging yourself. It wasn’t about what the degree did for you; it was about what you did with the degree.”

“When I left Keene, I took opportunities to try everything. Though my degree is in Technical/Design, I took classes in dance and acting and even did some performing. I was constantly striving to be well-rounded. My professors always stressed the importance of collaboration. The conversation between directors, performers, designers, and technicians is vital, and I wanted to understand things from all these perspectives. That let me acquire new skills, and I was able to keep creating, which is what I most enjoy. My hope is that I will never be complacent and I’ll continue to grow and challenge myself as an artist.”