Budget cuts spark student art movement

The pending discontinuation of Geneseo’s studio art department ignited students’ interest in starting Art Club, a new organization that hopes to provide Geneseo with a creative outlet starting next semester. According to some of the organization’s founders, sophomores Amy Liang, Sarah Alfonso and Rose Lipton, Art Club will be a way for students to come together and develop their artistic skills now that academic classes will no longer be available.

“We thought it was really unfair that students who wanted to express themselves through art mediums didn’t have the chance to do so anymore,” Liang said.

Art Club plans to switch between workshops and independent study on alternating weeks.  The workshops will include speakers and advanced student artists teaching general members about a specific kind of art.

Art Club’s idea is to dive into all different kinds of arts ranging from traditional mediums like sketching, painting and drawing to more modern ones including digital photography, graphic design and web design.  The founders stress that Art Club is open to everyone from beginning to advanced artists, allowing students to learn and practice skills in a relaxed environment even if art isn’t something they plan to pursue as a career.

“Anything can be art, especially nowadays since technology is so powerful. People don’t realize that you need artistic knowledge to know how to create a website or know how to design an app,” Liang said. “The way you think when you’re making art could really help a lot in whatever career.”

The founders also emphasized art’s practical side for those who don’t think it’s necessarily right for them.

“It’s still important to have a way to express your ideas and develop your creativity in ways that reading a bio textbook or doing a physics lab really can’t,” Liang said.

“Art is very therapeutic to a lot of people,” Lipton added.

Although it’s not yet official, Liang, Alfonso and Lipton have several ideas they are eager to put into action for next semester, including visiting nearby art museums. They have completed the majority of the paperwork, had their one permitted meeting of the semester and decided to ask for Student Association funding to provide art supplies. Students have already expressed their interest through joining Art Club’s Facebook page.

With the disappearance of the studio art department, it’s apparent that many students still want to express their creativity.

“We’re trying to bring arts back to this campus,” Lipton said.