ART CLUB STUDENTS SHOWCASE WORK AND SERVE COMMUNITY

Cougar News recently spoke to Jennifer Seibert, professor of art, and students to find out about Collin College’s ART CLUB.

What is ART CLUB?

The Collin College ART CLUB mission is to create a social and educational community for students interested in the visual arts with the hope of creating an inclusive, creative community. This new group started last semester with an active, online presence of more than 70 members.

“We are excited about such enthusiasm at an early stage,” said Diana Miller, founding president. The online presence takes its form as a Facebook group. Club members post images of their work for critique, share techniques, professional practice ideas and opportunities and support one another as artists. The in-person meet ups take place as working meetings to prepare for large-scale community projects, or members just get together to make things.

Varied events throughout the semester help promote the Collin ART CLUB and Art Department, but also are intended to create an inclusive community of artists in the Collin County area. Common Ground Creatives is the outreach branch of the organization which brings people together with a creative prompt to spark ideas for inspiring projects.

“Collin ART CLUB students give their time, a few materials and help facilitate an organized theme of creating together,” said Jennifer Seibert, faculty mentor for the group. “The goal is to truly investigate creativity with limited edges, to make mistakes faster, capture creative accidents to find different answers to better questions, and to create without boundaries. Being creative can open dialogue, create friendships, and help people see the world with a new creative outlook for positive change. And, to do it together is even more fun.”

Is it free?

ART CLUB is free and open to everyone!

Do you have to be an artist to join ART CLUB?

Anyone interested in the creative process, whether it be making art, critiquing it, discussing it or viewing it is welcome to join.

When does ART CLUB meet?

The predominately online nature of the group does not limit the amount of meet and greets but rather allows a more fluid access for club members. Most conversations and meet ups are posted on the ART CLUB Facebook member page. Miller shares art related events in town and encourages people to post images of current projects.

To keep our studio practice going throughout the summer, we will meet at noon and 6 p.m. on Tuesdays in the new MakerSpace at the Spring Creek Campus library. This fall semester, we will post a new time for in-person meetings on Facebook. To find us and be added to the group, search “Collin College Art Club” on Facebook.

Who benefits from ART CLUB?

ART CLUB members have worked with several community groups including the Boys and Girls Club of Collin County, the Cancer Support Network of North Texas, Plano ArtFest, Plano Arts Coalition, Ten20 Gallery in Downtown Plano, 500X Gallery in Deep Ellum, Plano Art Centre, Historic Downtown Plano Association, XO coffee and other downtown Plano establishments. They also partnered with a Dallas based artist, VET: The Eco Artist, to produce paintings and floating sculptures for the Plano ArtFest this past April with the Boys and Girls Club kids. Due to the success of the project, they created similar works with the Cancer Support Network that were also showcased at the Plano ArtFest.

The ArtFest was the first large scale community opportunity for ART CLUB. A make-and-take craft station allowed children to freely create their very own work of art, swap with another artist or take their creations home. They also featured a station to build upon an installation, so that other members of the community could get creative as well. Along with volunteer work, ART CLUB members are offered spots in gallery shows to showcase their work. Gallery shows benefit students and enrich the community with a wealth of new art. By working closely with several groups in the area, ART CLUB students build a stronger community, add to their resumes, form friendships and create places to share creative ideas.

“In the short time I have been in ART CLUB, I have gained a small community of people that I can share my work with that I know will encourage me,” said Robyn Rozell, ART CLUB co-president.

“It’s so great to be a part of something where everyone is so completely different. There are these wonderful, huge ideas that are brought to the table that push you in a different way and challenge you. That’s what I appreciate most about ART CLUB.”

 “Art can be such a transforming thing in someone’s life, as it is for mine,” Rozell said. “Being able to share that with someone and show kids that one can truly create art as a career is really awesome.”

Recent ART CLUB Events

Students displayed their work on top of Urban Rio as part of the Downtown Plano Art and Wine Walk, in collaboration with Plano Magazine and the Roof Top Event Space.

“We showcased our skill sets and talked with members of our community,” said Brody Epstein, chief operating officer of the club. “It is a special experience to show off our hard work and in return receive praise and admiration. It was definitely a night to remember.”

The Plano ArtFest in Historic Haggard Park is a large-scale community effort to display the growing interest of art in Plano, and the ART CLUB showed up in full support.

Celina Doro, the club’s public relations officer, said, “It was great to see so many people excited about making art.”

ART CLUB crafts projects included a make-and-take station and an instillation.

“The make-and-take station for the kids was a huge success,” said Doro. “I think [the kids] really enjoyed being able to create something and show it off to their parents.”

Another fun event was held at XO Coffee last month. Suz Perry, co-president, loves the Caffeinated Creatives Series that includes making drawings, enjoying live music and drinking coffee while bringing people together. Look for another event soon at www.caffeinatedcreatives.tumblr.com .

What is your favorite ART CLUB event?

ART CLUB members have their own favorites; however, the most memorable event for every club member might just be the Habitat for Humanity restoration mural.

“Painting a mural is not nearly as easy as it looks,” said Brody Epstein, “We were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to create a large-scale mural for the new Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Plano. After weeks of preparation and design planning, we spent three full days painting the 20 x 35-foot mural. Our hard work and creativity finally paid off with a community-based work of art that will be around for years to come.” On the opening of the ReStore, club members held a small pop up gallery within the shop.

“The mural was intense,” said Doro. “For a lot of us it was the first time working on a scale that big, but it really paid off. It feels great to give back to an organization that’s done so much for our community, too. I’ve always wanted to help build houses, but I work much better with a paintbrush.”

The Habitat for Humanity Mural was the first commissioned mural for the ART CLUB, but members hope to create many more. Rozell added, “We look forward to getting out there and making a positive mark on the community.”

Who should I contact for more information?

Search for “Collin College Art Club” on Facebook to join the online group.

Upcoming Caffeinated Creatives Series information can be found at www.caffeinatedcreatives.tumblr.com

For additional questions, email Jennifer Seibert at jseibert@collin.edu.

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