November 28, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 39°F

Life & Culture

Ithaca College student group explores the definition of art

With a progressive, individualist approach to artistry, campus group Arts Inkorporated has shaken up the definition of traditional art and taken a more explorative role in the art scene at Ithaca College. Working to unify young artists from different backgrounds, the group uses forms of art, ranging from drawing, painting and crafting to the art of philosophy, media and argument to achieve this goal.

Meeting twice a month, in addition to holiday programs run throughout the year, this diverse group of artists has been fiercely active at the college since its start last spring. Arts Ink is exploring the boundaries of art by examining it in different cultures and mixing older, more traditional art forms with newer, unconventional methods such as using dorm room objects or things found on Walmart shelves for projects.

Katie Quan, a senior double major in writing and culture and communication and club president, said she created Arts Ink in January 2014 to fill a void she saw on campus.

“At IC, people are able to express who they are and what they want to do in life, and we’re just trying to help people find a way to visualize or express that to other people,” Quan said.

Open to all students, including non-art majors, Arts Ink works within the college community to foster a shared culture of individual expression, creating unity among artists at all levels. Quan said Arts Ink is focused on its mission of connecting the community through experimenting with art.

“We bring people from different backgrounds together,” Quan said. “Everyone has a different way of expressing their artistic vision, and we get to learn from each other and express that in similar ways and in different ways.”

According to Theresa Radley, assistant director of student involvement in the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, what sets this organization apart is that ability to unite a diverse population through art.

“There are students from all different parts of campus, from all different parts of the world, from all different types of involvement and class years,” Radley said. “I think they’re definitely uniting the campus through art.”

Jacqueline Unger, a junior member of Arts Ink, said she likes how the group brings student-artists together.

“The best moments in Arts Ink are when we all share what we’ve created,” Unger said. “It’s a fun time, and the organization strives to stress the importance of art in its many forms.”

Although there are several other art-related student organizations on campus, Radley said she saw distinctive value in Arts Ink.

When considering Arts Ink’s recognition proposal, Radley asked the prospective organization what was different about their ideas as opposed to existing art groups. Radley was struck by the students’ intent to bring a cultural awareness of the arts to campus. This focus set Arts Ink apart from other art organizations, according to Radley.

“I’ve met with a lot of student organizations in the past years who are always trying to start an art organization,” Radley said. “It seems like there are a lot of students interested in art, but they can’t find a place where they can all get together, and I think Arts Ink is finally that place.”

Because students do not have to be academically involved in art to join the club, Radley said she believes Arts Ink provides an outlet for all students and an opportunity to explore creativity in different ways.

According to Radley, challenging traditional art is what makes Arts Ink such a valuable organization at the college. She said she admires its educational component, as the students learn about different cultures through different forms of art.

Radley said she also valued the club’s focus on cultural awareness of the arts. During the club’s Halloween program in October 2014, for example, the group made a pinata and discussed its cultural significance as an art form.

“In theory, they’re making something pretty and cool and fun to make, but they’re also highlighting this culture,” Radley said about the event.

Looking toward the future, Art Ink will pair with Human Expression Through Arts on Feb. 21 to bring its art programs to incarcerated youth.

Radley said she attributes much of the group’s success to its commitment to bringing together all students who really enjoy art and showing the campus what art is and all the different aspects of it.

“I think Arts Ink is going to be around for a while, and I’m pretty excited for them,” Radley said.