Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity, commonly referred to as the Hive, officially opened its doors to the public on Nov. 5. Even though in the days leading up to the opening it was in a state of cheerful chaos, its walls lined with sketches and scribbled ideas, by the time of the opening, the debris and Post-it notes had been replaced by a small art gallery and a button-making workshop in a backroom.
An enthusiastic buzz filled the building during the open house of the space. Students and faculty members milled around, talking about and admiring how the space had transformed since the conception of the project in 2014.
“It’s really exciting to see the space coming to life and all the student activity here,” Pomona College President David Oxtoby said.
In preparation for the open house, the center’s staff assembled a series of students’ photographs examining fluid mechanics. Each piece is accompanied by a brief written explanation that integrates poetry, science and artistic technique.
The center is the product of a $25 million gift by longtime donors Rick HM ’64 and Susan Sontag PO ’64 to the entire consortium. Its intent is to foster creativity and bring together students and faculty from all different disciplines to work together.
The center’s website states that its goal is to create an environment that encourages creativity, cooperation and problem-solving.
“We all wanted to create a space that was generative, that didn’t have any constraints on creativity,” said Noah Levan PZ ’16, one of the Hive’s student volunteers. “You have freedom to explore.”
The center hosts a variety of workshops every month in which every participant faced his or her fears in front of the group; its events calendar is available on the Hive’s website at creativity.claremont.edu. The building is also open to any student who wants to walk in and use the space and its materials.
According to Levan and Nicole Maslan CM ‘17, the center is a welcome respite from academics at the 5Cs.
“The culture embraces failure and trying new things and using your imagination,” Maslan said. “It’s a safe space in that sense.”
Tom Maiorana and Vida Mia García, both designers at the center, emphasized that it is a safe space meant to lend itself to creativity and transformation.
“The space changes depending on the needs and wants of the people in it,” García said. “It goes back to the co-creation: We don’t want to create something perfect and beautiful. We want people to come in and be active.”