At NJIT, you won’t find many humanities majors, but that isn’t to say the art scene isn’t blowing up. Since it started last year, the Art Club on campus has been growing exponentially. The 10-person core group has since expanded to over 170 members. The club went from having one person attend their first event to having over 25 events this semester alone and winning the NJIT New Student Organization of the Year award.
The club’s goal is to give students a way to be creative, and according to Sara Subbanna, a junior Biology major and the club’s co-president, to provide “a creative outlet, because all of us are STEM majors, so we want to have a space where we’re not thinking super logically and have a space to expand our creativity…. If you open up your mind to different ways of thinking, then you’re able to focus in your field and solve problems in different ways as well.”
Art is also a known de-stresser, and many people join the club just to take their mind off of school and their responsibilities. They have plenty of painting classes where people can follow the advice of a practicing artist to follow their steps to create their own masterpiece.
For now, the club is mostly focused around painting but encourages members to try different styles and mediums. However, the club plans to expand the types of art that they offer. Subbanna said that “Painting, dry sketching, wire art, wood carving, 3D pens, writing tablets, an Oculus Rift, charcoal origami, construction paper, anything you can do that’s artistically inclined, this should be the space to enjoy that. We try to get as much as we can so people don’t feel limited. Like you can get pencils at home but you can’t get charcoal, and we encourage people to try it and try new things.” They even make art using paintball guns, and have hosted an event where people can shoot a wood plank full of paintballs to create a work of art.
They recently purchased an Oculus Rift for a 3D immersive virtual reality art program called “Tilt” that not many people get to experience. They hosted an event last winter where they gave all their members a turn to expand and decorate a snowman using the software. Some members also expressed interest in graphic design, so they also have three new writing tablets for people to explore this medium as well. “We’re really receptive of feedback, in fact all of the events we have, we send out a forum for suggestions, then we have anonymous suggestions between the eboard and members so everyone’s suggestion is considered equally.”
They also hosted an event called “Sculpting with the Blind,” where they invited a nonprofit organization that worked with visually handicapped people to sculpt with the Art Club at NJIT. “We’d have them sculpt together and compare and contrast their work. For example, one prompt was ‘sculpt something that reminds you of home,’ and a lot of kids would sculpt a dog or something like that, and a lot of the people who were visually impaired would sculpt things like a door, because they could feel the door.”
“We’re trying to partner with a lot of off-campus communities as well,” Subbanna said, “including Newark Art. They had a festival recently on Halsey Street, we partnered as much as we wanted to, and now we’re working on painting murals across Newark. We’re painting NJII; we’re painting the whole second floor.”
Overall, the Art Club is one of the most up-and-coming clubs at NJIT and has big plans for the future. You can follow them on their instagram @artclubnjit and they have a Facebook group called “NJIT Art Club.” If you’re into art or want to give it a try, or even want a fun way to relieve stress, this club is perfect for you.