I never belonged to any art clubs at MIT. In my first-year, I joined a couple of clubs, most causally connected to my major and heritage. Almost all of the events I went to were either workshops, lectures, or dumpling making events. I never went to any of the art related events I saw pubbed on dormspam or in the Infinite. This semester though changed that.
I have always enjoyed getting free stuff from MIT, in the form of various random emails. This semester though there were a lot less free food offers in my email, but a lot more free art supplies. I couldn’t meet people scavenging for food, but I could meet new people making new stuff. Now you can see the evidence of all the free art supplies strewn across my living room (sorry to my roommates). Art making this semester merged two of my favorite hobbies-- meeting random people and enjoying free stuff from the ‘tute.
On our dining room table in the corner has a little easel with a landscape of the Boston harbor. Growing up, I had always heard of paint and sip stores, but I was never old enough to go. Therefore, I was super excited when I had the chance to do one virtually over Zoom (sans sipping anything). It was super fun and was the first time this semester I got to meet some new people. None of my classes have a ton of first years, so it’s been great to meet a few through some fun art building activities.
The second event I went to was a MindHandHeart and LGBTQ+ Services partnership for Crafterday Corner. Once a month, a graduate assistant leads an art workshop. That evening was the first time I drew with charcoal, since my required drawing class in high school. It brought me back to the calming presence I had experienced in those classes. Someone would share a prompt then for ten blissful minutes I could free draw and chat with some of the people present.
My most recent foray into newer forms of crafts is embroidery. My most intense training in sewing involved my mother forcing me to learn how to sew basic rips and buttons, so sewing proved a bit of an adventure into stretching my horizons. Luckily though, the MIT Council for the Arts and the new MIT In a Stitch Club partnered to send some embroidery kits to people; I was able to get some materials to start. They also had an interesting format of sending us into breakout rooms to embroider with other people. Embroidery also gives people a natural ice breaker of asking people what they’re making.
Art is still not my forte, but I have to say I have definitely learned how to stretch my creative juices. Even though my artistic ability leaves a lot to desire, it proves a nice little reason to hop on a Zoom to meet some other people (or even running into people from my Zoom recitation outside of class). Art soothes me and makes me use a bit of my brain outside of the usual programming and reading parts.