Two first-year fine arts students at the University of Cincinnati have launched a student organization that they say aims to solve ongoing problems within the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP).
The new organization, the Community of Art Students (CAS), was founded by Quincy Collins and Sadie Yost. It will function as a liaison between students, faculty and administration, work to maintain the student gallery and increase representation of art students within DAAP.
CAS began after a faculty member approached the students and asked them to form the organization. At the time, both Collins and Yost were already tasked with leading DAAP’s 840 Gallery — an on-campus space that enables fine arts students to publicly showcase their work.
“We were given the responsibility to be the middleman between the students and the administration in picking what goes on with the 840 Gallery and what we’re going to do with it in the future,” said Collins.
CAS representatives are currently working to rebrand the gallery. The rebrand includes a name change, possibly to “Tabula Rasa” — or “blank slate” in Latin, according to Yost. The gallery will also undergo installation and lighting updates.
CAS also hopes to amplify student voices by interfacing with faculty and administration to better address students’ problems and concerns.
The organization is working to address several “issues” within the college, said Collins. One of these issues concerns the location of studios for fine arts freshmen, which are currently located in trailers instead of the main building.
“It’s kind of hard to show [prospective students] the space,” Collins said. “Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing with how poor quality it seems the space is.”
The trailer space is meant to be temporary, but CAS is seeking immediate action.
“We can’t just keep saying ‘Oh, this is only temporary,’” said Collins. “This change needs to happen sooner than later, because I think that DAAP is definitely losing its good reputation among the fine arts students because of these issues that haven’t been addressed.”
CAS founders also plan to host activities and implement greater outreach to bridge the gap between fine arts students and students of other disciplines.
“The essence that we really want to promote is a sense of community and family within the school of art and [we’ll] try to spread that to the rest of DAAP as well,” said Collins. “I feel like there’s a divide between fine arts and the other departments … We really want to encourage cooperativeness between the majors, because we’re all here for art-related reasons, and I think we can do some really cool stuff.”
Applications for new student organizations are closed until the fall semester, but CAS is still working to enact change now. Collins and Yost have already established CAS-branded social media accounts, and the aspiring organization has already grown to 12 members, all of whom are freshmen.
CAS hopes to expand its reach to upperclassmen as well.
“Even if they’re seniors and they’re about ready to graduate, they can still come down and say, ‘This is what I’ve learned. This is what I want to say before I leave, and this is the main thing I would like to change,’” said Yost.
“We’re hoping that even after we leave DAAP … that people will continue to spread this togetherness and to keep the Community of Art Students going even after we’ve left,” said Collins. “We want to really create a strong and long-lasting foundation … We’re really passionate about what’s going on here, and I don’t think we’ll ever stop being passionate about it.”