The Performers and Creators Exchange Summer Series, hosted by The Gender and Arts Program, is giving Douglass artists a place to express their creativity and raise their voices virtually. The bi-weekly workshop-style event brings together students who are interested in sharing their art, receiving constructive criticism, and even developing their public speaking and performance skills.
“The Performers and Creators Series has helped me as an artist by providing a safe place to perform and receive feedback,” said Claire Oplinger DRC’24, a flute performance and music education major. “With live performances canceled, it is refreshing to be able to play for and interact with other people. It has also provided motivation to keep practicing and creating art during these difficult times.”
The program’s strength is in its promotion of open discussion and collaboration. For Claire, critique is an important part of developing her musical performance style.
“Collaboration is essential to the creative process," she said. "Interacting with other artists allows you to learn from them and can inform your own interpretation, or statement. Receiving feedback allows you to assess whether your statement has been communicated effectively. I think both of these parts working together–the formation of the statement and effectively communicating it–are what makes music enjoyable, inspiring, and moving.”
In addition to developing her creative side, Yehudis Frish DRC’22, a STEM student, sees the workshop as a space to decompress.
“I have very little art education,” said Yehudis, “But I use art as a coping strategy for stress. When I paint, I let my emotions take control over my creative expression.”
Yehudis likes to finger paint, fix up old bikes, or do any type of art that allows her to work with her hands. She finds these activities to have a beneficial calming effect. Yehudis has also used her time in the workshop to connect to her culture.
“The workshop helped me become aware of how much my religious and cultural background shapes my interests and art, not just my way of thinking,” she said. “While I paint, I often think of phrases from both the Oral and Written Torah that I want to express, and even end up writing poems in Hebrew or Yiddish to go along with my art.”
The success of the Performers and Creators Exchange Series displays the ways that the arts can thrive through remote programming. The College looks forward to innovating opportunities for Douglass artists throughout the upcoming months.