Rutgers Arts and Design Club gives non-Mason Gross students the chance to tap into their creativity
The Rutgers Arts and Design Club (RAD) provides art enthusiasts and students who are not enrolled in the Mason Gross School of the Arts with the chance to work their creativity. Each of their weekly meetings has a new topic and promises a fun time.
The University's encouragement of artistry is seen throughout the many programs offered by Mason Gross, but until 2016 they lacked the recreational resources that highlight the work of students who opt to pursue a degree in other fields.
Since its inception, RAD has sought to fill the artistic gap left by students who were not enrolled in Mason Gross but needed an outlet to express their creativity. They answered that call early into the spring semester of 2016 and began flourishing a community of artists, designers and creatives.
The organization is one of the only art clubs on campus and their mission is to create a space for students to enjoy creating art and connecting with others who share similar interests, said Cameron Foster, a School of Arts and Science sophomore.
“Most of our members aren't actually in Mason Gross, or are otherwise planning on majoring in art and taking it up as a profession, but instead people who do art as a hobby,” he said.
RAD is open to all students but focuses on connecting those looking for a community of artists to engage with outside of the University’s programs, Foster said. Mason Gross students and any others interested are encouraged to attend a meeting and get involved.
Foster first joined the organization at last year’s student involvement fair and has since worked himself to the board’s vice president, he said.
“I thought it would be interesting to join since I've always liked drawing, but I didn't expect that I'd meet so many cool people there and have so much fun," Foster said. “It really is just a group of people who love art and want to share that with others.”
The group holds general meetings every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Murray Hall, Foster said. These typically consist of a group activity like figure drawing, still-life drawing and blind contouring. The organization also partakes in events outside of the University, such as outdoor canvas painting and trips to art museums in New York City.
Founder and president of RAD, Jacob Heifetz-Licht, said after his search for an art club on campus that included drawing, painting and graphic design came up short he decided to create his own.
He focused his efforts on R.E.A.L, Rutgers Entrepreneurial Academy of Leadership, over six weeks during the spring semester of 2015, Heifetz-Licht said. The program, aimed at helping students manifest their ideas for clubs, companies and “passion projects," shaped his vision for an art club into reality. RAD was born that following summer.
“RAD is a creative space that is free of judgment, where we provide instruction and guidance from experienced members, as well as provide free materials ranging from paint supplies to wood-burning tools based on our events,” he said. “Our meetings provide a comfortable environment, with music to match our workshop or activities we have planned, and encourage members to collaborate and connect with each other.”
The group’s first anniversary was this past September and has already seen significant community turnout as weekly meetings bring out 20 to 40 students and more at popular activities, Heifetz-Licht said.
“Our events in the past have included paint nights which take place outside when the weather permits, workshops in art, graphic design, web design, interactive activities such as notebook swaps and collaborative poster boards,” he said.
The group’s Facebook page helps connect students outside weekly meetings with constant reminders of upcoming events and weekly session topics. Aside from community interaction, the group offers logo and creative services per request.
“RAD is a great creative outlet for any student,” he said. “Most of us aren’t Mason Gross students, and we strive to foster a community where you can express yourself freely and meet other creative, like-minded people, all the while having fun both creating and learning about art and design. Stay RAD.”
Christian Zapata is a School of Arts and Sciences junior. He is a correspondent for The Daily Targum