Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

The Craft of Connections

Posted 11/28/2023 by Brady Vinlove

A typical Art Club meeting, which consists of students drawing together, sharing their work, and getting to know their fellow peers. photo by Ravi Apte

In Art Club, art is about more than just beauty – it’s also about interacting with fellow creative students.

The TJ community is full of students with different interests and just as many ways for students to become involved in the rest of the school. With all of the clubs and student organizations at TJ, some are not as well known. Art Club is one example of these clubs and provides a way for creative students to connect with each other through their passion.

Started in the fall of the 2020-2021 school year, Art Club has always been a way to forge connections between creative students. Lisa Freedberg, ceramics teacher and Art Club sponsor, began working at TJ in 2020 and noticed a need for a club focused on art. The fall semester of that year was entirely remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning students needed an opportunity to connect even more. Due to the restraints at the time, during the first year of the club’s existence, members only met online via Google Meets to eat lunch, draw together, and share their artwork with each other. It also allowed people to meet each other, as Freedberg was new to TJ and all of the members that year were freshmen, so they weren’t linked to the community yet. The connections made during this time lasted too; all of the original members from 2020 are now still part of the club in their senior year. 

One original member is senior Dixie Atkinson, the president of Art Club. She became president her sophomore year when another student dropped the position and has been the leader ever since. The connections made during her freshman year online inspired Atkinson to lead the club and make it a space for all creative students. 

Atkinson explains that one goal of the club is to “get people’s creative flow going.” One way the group did this was through the Inktober Challenge, a practice during the month of October during which artists draw one pen drawing each day following a set of prompts in order to improve their drawing skills. The Art Club instead did weekly prompts in which members would have a week to draw a picture based on the prompt before coming back together with the rest of the club and sharing. The first week focused on phobias and the students’ approach was vastly different, showcasing their unique style. Their work for this prompt can be found on the Art Club Instagram: Another Art Club activity is the Club Sketchbook which is taken home by a different student each week for them to sketch whatever they would like into it.  Then, during the next meeting, the book is returned, allowing the club to see a particular member’s style and to create a book displaying the creativity of different students. When students are feeling uninspired, the club often plays Drawful, a computer game where players get absurd prompts and draw something to fit it, while other players guess what they are drawing. The silliness of the game is fun with the large group in Art Club and allows members to showcase their talents.

The fun in Art Club extends to the rest of the TJ community as well. Last year, they held multiple “Canvas and Capri Suns” events where people would paint along to a Bob Ross tutorial, have snacks, and bond with each other. This tradition has continued this year with the first being held on November 16th and more planned for the future. The club has also sold some pieces at First Friday and hopes to set up a small gallery to display their impressive work in the future. 

While art is a major part of Art Club, the connections students make are just as important. During some meetings, students don’t draw as much, but instead talk about their love of art. “It’s a good place to meet people who love art and share a passion for creating art,” said Freedberg. Having been a shy art student once, Atkinson knows the importance of connections between creative students. Therefore, she aims to make Art Club a space where creative students can connect with the rest of the community in a way that feels comfortable to them, such as by silently drawing. Art Club can also be a way to get students to reach new levels with their craft as it provides a way for them to be accountable for their art. Atkinson also highlighted that the club “can get you to do something creative that you’ve never thought about before.” 

Art Club may not be as talked about as other clubs at TJ, but it is just as impressive. By providing a place for students to be creative, connect with others, and allow the community to create art, the club strengthens the artistry all around the school. Any students looking to join Art Club can attend a meeting in room 35 on Thursdays at lunch.