TJ’s very first art club is welcomed in the in-person school year.
The Thomas Jefferson High School extracurricular activity environment is thriving, and a main reason is because there are many new clubs being founded. Lisa Freedberg, the ceramics teacher at TJ, has created the Art Club. Surprisingly, TJ has not had one in past years, which may be due to the fact that there are already two art classes at TJ: drawing and painting, and ceramics. However, these classes do not cover all basic elements of art. As a result of this and her passion encompassing different art forms, Freedberg made it her mission to incorporate different kinds of art into the lives of curious students.
Freedberg started the club in October of 2020, which was only her third month teaching at TJ. She explained that it was not necessarily difficult to start the club and to get students to join the club during remote learning, but it was “difficult to keep their interest and [to] keep them coming back.” So far this year, the art club has been successful in bringing in members. Right now, there are around 40 recurring members, which is a drastic increase from last year’s grand total of 5 members. Another significant difference from last year’s club is that they now have a president, sophomore Dixie Atkinson, but as of now, Freedberg has not looked into adding more student leadership positions. However, she explained that as the club “starts to fundraise, [they] may need a treasurer.”
A typical day in the art club kicks off with the help of Atkinson and Freedberg, who work together to create a new project for students to participate in, however participation is not required. Some examples of their projects include: figure drawing (a student live models and other art club participants draw them), making sugar skulls for Día de los Muertos, and one big project which Freedberg started this school year where every week, a different student takes home Freedberg’s college sketchbook that she has not used since. The members add in their own artwork on the blank pages, so at the end of the year, Freedberg has a collection of her club members’ unique artistry. Another fun project the art club is planning for is going to take place on December 7th, when the art club will do an activity similar to Secret Santa. Each club member will “draw names out of a hat” and bring in one of their original “work[s] of art” that they do not mind parting with, so they can do a “holiday art switch,” and at the end of the meeting, every member will have someone else’s art to keep. This project has great potential to connect each student to another’s art style. Freedberg has high hopes to start more fun projects like the holiday one, and she also hopes to teach the members about many more different art types, for example needle felting.
Freedberg explained that the art club has big plans for the future, one of which is to make t-shirts with their own logo on it, that they just recently developed. The logo was designed by Atkinson, and it says “TJ using art supplies.” After the t-shirts are made, the club members will tie-dye them so each student can add their own artistry to their merchandise. Freedberg is looking into selling the shirts to raise money, so it is recommended to keep an eye out for the awesome tees.
Freedberg, along with most of the art club, is yearning for new members. As a result, the club will be accepting new students starting in January as a way to start the second semester off on the right foot. Any student can join and there are no artistic abilities needed in order to sign up. According to Freedberg, the art club is very “relaxed,” meaning everybody just “makes art” and hangs out with their friends. TJ’s Art Club is welcoming and friendly, and they meet every Tuesday during lunch in room 35. Get creative, TJ, and join art club!