The Studio

New leadership and members revived Cedarville University’s art organization after a year of dormancy

by Kaileigh Willis

New officers and students have revived Cedarville University’s The Studio, an organization for lovers of creativity from watercolor painters to sketch artists.

According to the organization’s constitution, The Studio, Society of Art + Design was formed in 2010. Its purpose is to encourage the study of art, to connect art and design majors and students with similar passions, and to give art and design assistance to Cedarville University as well as other clients. The Studio is open to all students and is not limited to art and design majors.

Although attendance to the Studio has declined within the last few years, The Studio has been revitalized. Through its weekly sketch nights and other art events, the organization hopes to encourage art lovers of all different skills, majors and perspectives to come together for a time of fellowship, creativity, and fun.     

According to the president, Tasha Peterson, the art org meets for weekly sketch nights on Tuesday evenings at 8 in the back of Stinger’s. During these meetings, students of different majors and creative abilities bring their own art supplies and gather with other artists to create and fellowship with one another.

Although the meetings are referred to as “sketch nights,” they are not limited to one specific art style. A wide array of skill levels and forms of art are represented at the meetings, from simple doodles to impressive watercolor paintings. Students can ask others for feedback on their pieces and appreciate each others’ creativity. Some students bring their art projects to work on while others bring their homework simply because they love the community and conversation.

The Studio hosts a weekly “sketch night” for students interested in practicing art of various types. One student uses a picture on an iPad as reference for her sloth drawing. [Photo by Lauren Jacobs]

The Studio’s informal environment makes it more unique than any other organization on campus. Students attend sketch nights whenever they can and stay for as long as they wish. Members are not required to make a full commitment to attend every meeting and event.

Allison Ramsey, vice president of The Studio, said that in the past the sketch nights felt like a group of friends hanging out. However, because of the increase in attendance and the organization’s friendliness to newcomers, the group dynamic has changed.

“While it feels like a large friend group, it’s always changing so it’s not so much of a clique,” Ramsey said.

Former president Josiah Parsons said that in the past The Studio was involved with larger art events. Once, a church asked them to paint murals for their Sunday school classrooms.

However, within the last few years, attendance at The Studio’s sketch nights dwindled. The organization hosted fewer events, and fewer students knew about The Studio’s existence as an art org on campus.

Peterson has high hopes for the community of artists. She began attending The Studio’s sketch nights after she heard about them during her sophomore year.

For Peterson, The Studio offers an escape from studying for a few hours, motivation to create more in her free time, and a community to meet new people and make new friends. Peterson, a visual communication design major, became president of The Studio when the previous officers began to search for new leadership.

Ramsey said she first heard about The Studio through the involvement fair at the beginning of her freshman year. As a regular at sketch nights since her freshman year, Ramsey decided to take on the role of vice president. She said the organization made her feel much more confident drawing in front of other people.

“[The Studio is] a chance to take a break from homework and work on something that is creative and fun without fear of judgment,” Ramsey said.

Morghan O’Neil, another frequent attender of the sketch nights, said she heard about the organization even before she was attending Cedarville. A junior graphic design major, O’Neil has brought her art projects to work on during sketch nights.

“Art itself can be very isolating,” O’Neil said. “Because you’re doing your own projects, so it’s easy to distance yourself from others.”

She said The Studio gives her the opportunity to bring her homework to a place where she can meet other people who have similar interests as her; people who she may not have otherwise met. O’Neil also said sketching allows her to process her day, and sketching with a group of like-minded individuals is a great way to unwind.

O’Neil utilized the time she had during various sketch nights throughout the fall semester to work on a project for her production design class.  The project, called a type journal, required O’Neil to sketch 26 different illustrations of various mythological gods and goddesses. While juggling other homework on top of this project, O’Neil took advantage of the hour she could dedicate every week to her project.

A new member of The Studio, Sarah Bean, said she loves the welcoming environment the organization offers. The freshman journalism major has become a regular attendee of sketch nights this semester.

“[Sketch night] is one point a week where I can step away from schoolwork and everything and just do whatever: chat, paint, and drink some good coffee,” she said.

Although she is not an art major, Bean said she loves the community that The Studio creates.

Apart from sketch nights, The Studio plans to host other events to encourage students to appreciate and create art. Throughout the year, the organization arranges trips to several art museums. In the past, they have visited the Dayton Art Institute, and they hope to visit other museums in the area.

The Studio has planned a clay night on March 24 to teach students about ceramics at the Alford Ceramics Studio. The org also hopes to paint the rock during various sketch nights.

Peterson said she hopes to plan more events to incorporate other types of art.

“I would love for The Studio to continue to grow and get students connected with art opportunities both on and off campus,” Peterson said.

Students can learn more about The Studio on Instagram under the handle @the_studio_of_cu.

Kaileigh Willis is a freshman professional writing and information design major and writer for Cedars. When she’s not studying, Kaileigh likes to drink tea, read, and listen

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