Every Friday evening, students gather virtually to explore art, play games, and most importantly, relax after a week of school. Led by Alex Park ’21 and Jerry Shu ’21, Art for Expression (A.F.E.) is focused on meeting with other community members to have fun and create art. Board member Katherine Bell ’22 gave a description of what virtual meetings due to Covid-19 entail.
“A.F.E. is just to give a space for students to wind down at the end of the week, and also do art…For online, specifically, we’ve been moving towards more online activities we can do, because obviously, it’s hard to do art over a computer screen. So sometimes we’ve just done games that are like scribble.io, to compensate, or we do art by ourselves, and then we present them at the end of the meeting,” said Bell.
A.F.E.’s purpose is for students to have a non-judgmental and relaxed place to explore art, whether that be working on new projects, or just on their art homework. Participants can have fun exploring art outside of class without worry about grades or following the guidelines of an assignment.
“I think really just the freedom students have to choose what they want to do, as I said earlier because I’ve certainly utilized that time to work on my art homework, for instance, or if I was doing digital art, I use that time just to have a block of time where I could do it myself,” said Bell.
A.F.E. allows students to build community and connect with others through their common passion for art. The relaxed environment created is favorable for participants to share and create their artwork. Park commented on his own experience on finding a sense of community through A.F.E.
“I think that the most valuable thing that I’ve seen, is just the community that’s built and, and the sort of an environment, that communal environment built around art that I see on Friday nights, is really what I want everyone to take away with as well,” said Park.
Recently, the club has been trying to grapple with including both in-person and remote learners and making sure everyone still feels welcome. Some ideas floating around for this term are outdoor exhibitions or small art events. For now, the club is focusing on finding an in-person space to meet.
“So with current plans, we’re just trying to get back into [Elson Art Center] to set up in-person meetings, but we don’t know yet. We’ll have to wait and see whether we can use that space. So if we can’t, we’re just going to do just more virtual things like we’ve been doing all year,” said Shu.