Courtesy of Omar Ramos Photography
Each Friday during fall 2019, Ruby Diamond-Peacock would contemplate whether she had enough courage to go to a Collaborative Artists meeting. The answer remained the same. She told herself she would go next week.
“Going to a meeting alone felt very intimidating, (so) I kept putting it off … then, unfortunately, we were sent home due to COVID-19,” art history junior Diamond-Peacock said. “At the start of the pandemic and with a climate of uncertainty, I lost interest in most of my hobbies and passions. I stopped painting and exploring creative outlets, so joining an (organization) like Collaborative Artists felt pointless.”
Diamond-Peacock’s experience is the reality for many students who spent over a year away from campus activities. Many underclassmen postponed getting involved in the UT community due to fear. Now entering their junior or senior year of college, these students are ready to rekindle their passions by joining fine art organizations as they attempt to make the most of their limited time in college.
Diamond-Peacock said after a year of being away from campus, she now wants to connect with students who share her same passion for art. This fall, she looks forward to her Fridays creating art with her peers at Collaborative Artists meetings.
“Knowing the world can change so easily and life is so uncertain, I encourage people to take a risk,” Diamond-Peacock said. “I know joining may seem intimidating, but after more than a year of disconnectedness, we all crave friendly interaction and to meet new people.”
Kolby Tate, theatre and dance junior, said he felt discouraged from joining theatre organizations in fall 2020 because the entire theatre industry shut down due to COVID-19, leaving him without motivation or inspiration to continue performing.
As theaters across the city open up, Tate said he hopes to return to the stage by auditioning for an improv troupe or one of the many shows the UT theatre department hosts.
“The prospect of finally getting the opportunity to join (an improv troupe) made me very excited for this upcoming semester and I’m feeling optimistic about what the rest of college holds for my peers and me,” Tate said.
As she planned her return to campus, dance senior Kennedy Cannon said she felt too old to try out for the dance organization Front N Center. However, once she expressed interest with members of the group, they welcomed her.
“I was hesitant to join because I didn’t want underclassmen to feel like this organization was upperclassman-infested and that they wouldn’t have a voice,” Cannon said. “But the current members were extremely welcoming.”
By auditioning for Front N Center, Cannon said she hopes to go out of her comfort zone socially and artistically. She said no matter what year someone is or the current circumstances, it’s never too late for one to pursue art they’re passionate about.
“Just go for it,” Cannon said. “I say ‘YOLO’ because life is too short not to do things you’re genuinely interested in.”