The visual arts have made their way back to Eastern’s campus in the form of a new student club. The Society of Art and Illustration, having just recently been named as an official club, encourages students to take advantage of its members’ artistic talents and use them to strengthen fellowship and spread the Gospel.
Sophomore Jordan Brantner, one of the group’s founders, admits that the lack of artistic representation on campus disappointed him when he arrived as a freshman last year. “We have such a beautiful campus here,” he said. “You would think people would want to paint or draw it.”
When he heard of the Michael Skinner Art League, Eastern’s art club that faded out almost two years ago, Brantner decided to take up the cause. And for him, failure was not an option.
With the help of fellow students, many of them previous members of MSAL, Brantner was able to push his plan through Student Government and make the SAI an official reality.
Club meetings, held on Tuesday nights from 8-11 in McInnis 312, have no particular structure. Students can show up whenever they want with whatever materials they have on hand. The atmosphere is calm and laid-back so that artists can feel comfortable working on their own projects at their own paces. SAI is a space where people can do art together.
“We want to keep it very loose,” Bratner said. “We realize that people don’t necessarily want to come and have an art class. People just want an excuse to go out and do art. It’s like a diversion from school work.”
The club provides materials in a variety of mediums and encourages students to experiment with them.
“One of the reasons we named it ‘The Society of Art and Illustration’ is because we want to make a very defined difference,” Brantner said. “We realize that illustration as in drawing, and art as in painting, sculpting, etc., are completely different things. We really try to support as many different mediums as we can.”
Occasionally, lessons in a specific medium are provided by faculty members or other artists. Other perks for members include a trip to Philadelphia to practice working from life, as well as a gallery day when students’ work will be showcased.
This year, the group is working on a defining a mission statement. Explaining the ideas that will be incorporated, Brantner said, “Our big focus is to build community amongst artists and make a difference with our work.” At the same time, however, SAI’s goal is “to be more than just an art club, and somewhat like a campus ministry.”
In line with this plan, members are currently working on pieces to donate to various charitable organizations. They are also trying to build relationships with charities that they can serve in the future.
The group’s main goal, however, is become an integral part of the Eastern community.
“My goal is not to create an art department on campus,” Brantner said. “I just want to provide an outlet for fellow artists and if God decides to use this as a catalyst for something greater, that’s great. We’ll see what his plan is.”