Collaborative Artists club offers students space to relax

Kate Dannenmaier

After a long week of coding, computer science junior Kevin Hwang just wants to sit down and doodle. Collaborative Artists, a social club open to all majors, provides a space for him to do just that.

Hwang, the club’s webmaster, said most of the members of Collaborative Artists, or CA for short, are natural sciences or engineering students like him. Every Friday night, they get a chance to express their artistic sides.

“You have these math and science intensive courses all week, and it’s very easy to lose sight of your artistic passion when you’re just flooded with math and science stuff all the time,” Hwang said. “So CA is just a good way to make sure you’re drawing or doing something creative every single week.”

CA’s weekly meetings often have themes. Hwang said members are allowed to draw or make whatever they want, but the club offers optional activities for members who are not working on a project that week. At last week’s meeting, members were asked to scribble for 30 seconds and then hand it to the person sitting next to them to turn the scribble into a work of art. 

Club president Will Ripley, a management information systems and computer science senior, said CA is just as much of a social club as it is an art club.

“I don’t think I’m the greatest artist, but I guess that’s the awesome point at CA,” Hwang said. “There are some people who don’t even do art. I know several people who come here just to hang because we’re that awesome.”

Public relations junior Autumn Taylor wanted to be an artist in high school but decided against it once she came to college. Taylor joined CA to continue pursuing art in college, and she said she made some of her closest friends in the process.

“We had a Bob Ross night, and, so, we had an entire DVD set of Bob Ross playing on the big screen while people were supposed to be doing landscapes,” Taylor said. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

While some people go to CA to hang out, others take on big projects. Last year, the club’s public relations officer took up ballroom dancing and practiced during
meetings. One of CA’s former presidents made a foam cosplay suit.

“One person last year made antlers out of wire and foil, so you can really bring what you want and do your own thing,” Ripley said. “We don’t have stacks of gold for your gold sculpture, but, if you have stacks of gold and a smelter, you can do it here.”

Ripley said it isn’t in the spirit of CA to charge dues, but the lack of funding sometimes makes it difficult for the club to pay for some activities. Ripley said they have started to get commissions for artwork.

“We want to make it more stable to essentially have funds, where we can start buying supplies for members,” Ripley said. “It certainly helps when you have a source to rely on.”

Ripley said CA is hoping to coordinate with another University group to build a sculpture for National Cyber Security Awareness Month. They plan to build the sculpture out of computer scraps, and they hope to place it in the Flawn Academic Center for the entire month of October.

“When I first joined freshman year, we thought of CA as just a hangout, as a space for art,” Hwang said. “Now, we’re getting more involved in the community. We’re getting commissions, and we’re starting to get out and share our art with the world.”