The first-ever “SJC Art Day” – held on campus at SJC Brooklyn last week – had three key objectives: foster appreciation for the arts, provide hands-on experience and showcase art’s impact on the human condition.
“Today’s event was an example of what the Council for the Arts strives to accomplish,” said Ramona Candy, director of the Council for the Arts at SJC Brooklyn.
The council hosted the May 3 event. It examined the role of healing within the arts and how art can establish “safe spaces” for personal expression.
“This event came about at the beginning of the semester – SJC is home to so many intelligent and talented students,” said Elliot Sang, a senior Journalism and New Media Studies major at SJC Brooklyn who conceptualized and organized the event. “I wanted to organize an event so that my peers could both learn from successful artists and have an opportunity to showcase their own work.”
Sang moderated a discussion with three successful artists: Dragonfly, a nationally-acclaimed writer and performer; painter Brooks Frederick; and musician Kevyn Nathaniel Hylton, who specializes in traditional African vocal and instrumental music.
Art Discussion Led By Journalism Student
Sang encouraged the trio to discuss how they started their careers and overcame personal doubt toward becoming successful artists. The artists also spoke of how they formed their artistic identities and talked about when they knew they had made it as successful artists.
Later, the students participated in three interactive workshops, each one led by one of the artists.
Nathaniel held a group musical circle, engaging students in singing and dance, while showing them traditional African instruments. Frederick shared with the students how he made paint reclaimed from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He also had the students work individually and together to create projects.
Dragonfly organized the students into small groups and led an abstract exploration of words and movement.
“These artists shared their experiences with us, divergent yet linked. Elliot Sang did a masterful job in drawing out each artist’s unique story,” Candy said.
The Council for the Arts is a group of volunteers from St. Joseph’s and the College’s the surrounding communities. The members foster and encourage an appreciation and enjoyment of the fine and performing arts. The council seeks to develop a lasting love for the arts in SJC students and in the larger community.