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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Art club aims to make art more prominent on Hawk Hill

The revamped art club aims to make St. Joe’s more artistic. PHOTO: Daniel Remishevsky ’23

After hearing feedback from students about the lack of freedom of expression and art on campus, Jayne Baran ’22 and Abby Stefanski ’22 decided to take matters into their own hands by creating a new art club.

The new club will bring more awareness of art to St. Joe’s and allow students to find their creative side.

“We want to broaden the artistic community at St Joe’s,” Baran said. “In all honesty it’s pretty much non-existent.. We want to make things a little bit weirder. Things aren’t weird enough around here.”

Baran is a double major in art and communications. She said she knew coming to St. Joe’s to study art was going to be difficult, but she didn’t want to give up just because of the adversity.

After talking to her friends about transferring, Baran came up with a new plan.

“They said, ‘You could go to Temple and hang out with all the kids that ride their skateboards down Broad Street, or you could stay here and change the culture,’” Baran said. “I think that’s what we want to do. We want to change the art culture.”

As a psychology major, Stefanski doesn’t have a complete academic focus on art. She instead uses art to be as a way to understand what is going on in someone’s head and sees it as therapeutic.

For Stefanski, this club is a chance for her to be involved in art and practice what she finds interesting without declaring a major in it.

“I don’t want to take a lot of art classes and immerse myself in art,” Stefanski said. “Having a club to make that a possibility for students like me is great. Even students who  don’t have confidence in art and what they create, having a safe space without judgement and boundaries.”

Both Baran and Stefanski found that art was not getting the recognition it deserves on Hawk Hill so this club was a way to give it the acknowledgement it deserves.

“It’s not like we are in Kentucky,” Baran said. “We are in Philadelphia. There’s so much art and culture all around us and I want to see more of that here.”

They hope the new club will be a way for students to express themselves through art but also be able to learn more about art around them.

“You can learn so much from art by creating your own pieces,” Stefanski said. “When it’s completed, you can look at your work and see yourself in a whole different way because you have never expressed yourself in that sense. Through  art you can find so much understanding in things.”

Baran agrees that this is a prominent time for people trying to find themselves, and the new art club can be a way of figuring out who they are.

“So much artistic creation and endeavors is about identity,” Baran said. “I feel like at this point in our lives in college when everyone is trying to find themselves, art is a great form to focus on yourself and interactions with the community around you.”

One of the faculty advisors for the newly founded club, Martha Easton, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history, is new to St. Joe’s this fall in addition to the creation of the art history major. Before, there only existed an art history minor.

“Before I came there was only one full time art history professor and I am now the second,” Easton said. “It’s a great time to be here because the department is growing and the program is growing in terms of art history.”

Easton thinks this new club will bring more awareness to the art program at St. Joe’s and show people that there is more to the program than they would think.

“For people that aren’t aware of what’s happening in art and art history now that there’s going to be a student group, they are going to be able to spread the word,” Easton said. “Hopefully having an art club to bring more public attention so the student body will help people realize that there is this whole world going on at Saint Joseph’s that they weren’t aware of before.”

This art club is not the first to exist, but both Baran and Stefanski have hope that this will be the last time it has to be recreated on St. Joe’s campus.

“Having a creative foundation is great,” Baran said. “It’s not like we are making some weird club, it’s something that should have been here. It feels like it’s our responsibility to bring it back.”

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