Getting Involved in the Arts

By Hannah Keating, Arts Editor


If there’s one phrase that you’ll hear a lot of during your undergrad, it’s “get involved.” You may hear friends and peers wanting to participate in a certain exciting project or program after talking to past students. You may hear how being involved in a student organization increases the likelihood of academic success and graduation. If nothing else, being involved in a student group is something you can show off to parents at the end of the semester. Student groups in the arts are the best way to further whatever your passion might be, allowing you to participate in collaborative experiences and work with groups of like-minded people to put a little more good into the world. Whether you are majoring in the arts or not, there are many student-led groups in the arts for you to get involved with. 

“It really pays to get involved in an arts club. My first semester being a member of Sculpture Club, I got to attend a 4-day, hand-on glass relief making seminar that included a world-renowned artist teaching us and all the materials,” said Kelly Goff, outgoing chair of the Student Advisory Committee in Art and Art History. She joined Sculpture Club at the beginning of her undergrad, ensuring the club’s continuation after the graduation of its seniors. As a registered club through the university, they were able to get funding through the Fine Arts Funding grants to put on their own external sculpture intermedia exhibition in Trolley Square. “We spent late nights and weekends painting and sanding. All of us learned how to hang and best display our artwork. It was a huge learning experience and helped all of us realize what it takes to put on a show.” Outside of Sculpture Club, there are clubs in ceramics, photography, a print-making club called Under Pressure and so many more. 

If visual art isn’t what piques your curiosity, McKayla Wolf, the former SAC chair in the School of Music, encourages you to pay attention to music ensembles. “There are thousands of students on campus that participated in band, choir or orchestra at some point in their high school career. The SoM has non-auditioned ensembles for this very reason, I even had the opportunity to play in a few of these groups in my time at the U!” Students can participate in many student groups in music, no matter what their major is. With separate organizations for performers like cellists, violists, trumpeters, and pianists, as well as an Opera Guild, a Composers Collective and opportunities for music educators, anyone can still engage with their craft through the School of Music. 

Being a small part of the experimental artistic work of another student can be such a powerful experience, and this is something the School of Dance knows well. “To have the opportunity to be immersed in a fellow dancer’s creative process and get to know them on an artistic level is such a gift, and allowed for me to share something with them that I will never forget,” said Sydney May, outgoing departmental SAC chair and recent commencement speaker. “Sure, things might be intimidating at first as you’re figuring everything out, but take the chance on being involved, because I can assure you that you won’t regret it.” Dance student groups include Character Dance Ensemble, Dance Studies Working Group and Healing in Motion. 

Though there are so many established student organizations in the College of Fine Arts, the Theatre Department knows about building organizations from the ground up with a few members, from Stage Managers to New Musical Workshops and everything in between. Chessie Hsieh is the new Vice President of Open Door Productions, a group devoted to providing student production opportunities across departments. After having to go through the university channels to get this club off the ground, her advice to students is “even if you don’t immediately see the audience for it or the organization to help you with it, I know there are people in our community who share your ideas and will support you. This group is new this year and was a dream that I have been so lucky to have people rally around and make a reality. Find your people and your passion will be attainable, I promise.”

There are many more student groups associated with art departments, like the Film Club, and outside of the arts field, with everything from stand-up comedy to video games and Student Media available on the U’s Get Involved website. If there isn’t a club that you want to start, talk to the Office of Student Leadership & Involvement about registering a Sponsored Student Organization.


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