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SAIC dorm residents get SMART

By Max Schubert

What do a giant Big Mac, a Japanese wrestler, and a grizzly bear that specializes in headstands have in common? They all participated in the SMART group’s first community figure drawing event held at the 162 North State residences. SMART, which could stand for any number of things, but most popularly Students Making Art or Society Making Art, is an organization that seeks to bring the SAIC community closer through planned events, rigorous out-of-class critiques, group gallery walks, shows, and the dispersal of information, knowledge and skills among the student body. SMART was first conceptualized by students on the 6th floor of the 162 N. State residences looking for a tighter-knit group of artists and a more connected and supportive artistic community within the dorms. Senior Resident Advisor Chris Naka picked up the project. He re-organized, broadened, and continues to heavily promote the group. Seemingly over night, postcards, flyers, and t-shirts could be found virtually everywhere in the 162 building, encouraging students to become involved. With stern promotion reading “There will be an art community in this building whether you like it or not” and “Creative writing will finally get the respect it deserves,” SMART is a group that thus far has refused to go unnoticed. Interest in the organization has exceeded all expectations, its definition constantly evolving as many of the students bring their ideas for the community to the table. In the beginning, SMART was created as a resource exclusive to 162 N. State residents, but Naka and company are working to extend the program to the Chicago building. They feel strongly that a dialogue between the two residences is an important goal to work towards. Until that goal is fully realized, however, any student with a friend residing in the 162 building is encouraged to sign in and take advantage of the goings on.

One of the key resources in bringing the student community together is a skills/interest registry and database, which has yet to be given an official name. The database will essentially be a resource where students can put down anything in which they have some expertise, in a format that will allow students to search through and contact one another if interested. When searching the registry/database, the possibilities could range from finding like-minded musicians, to cooking, to learning a back flip. According to Naka, the intended format for this semester will be a print and bound version, tentatively planned for distribution by the end of March. The database will, with any luck, include the occupants of the Chicago Building, but Naka states that making the database a school-wide affair would be out of his jurisdiction. “Making the database a school-wide publication would take a lot more time and planning. A database of that size would have to be online, and with that comes privacy issues and management issues, things that would have to be addressed outside of the parameters of my job.” Other plans include movie screenings, peer-teaching, suggestions for readings on the arts, and a building-wide art exhibition that entails perusing each floor in search of student art displayed within the rooms.

In the few weeks SMART has been active, writing and music groups have been established, a breakfast club, and a building-wide critique, even some fantasy figure drawing. Weekly meetings and email lists have been established to discuss new ideas and the direction of the projects. When Naka was asked about his ultimate goal for the group, he stated that he simply hopes to satisfy a need within the student body and to have its successes carry on and expand into the fall. He is also quick to point out that “SMART is a group for the students, and ultimately, its success depends on the students and their involvement in the group and community.” One student at the initial SMART gathering articulated this sentiment eloquently: “Never in our lives will we again be surrounded by this many artists. Not even the most famous artists have this many people surrounding them or working with them, and it’s really important to take advantage of this resource while we have the chance.”


Ten Reasons SAIC Might Not Be the Place for You…

  1. You can’t stop fantasizing about spending the rest of your life on the top floor of a major corporation where you have a window office and make lots of money
  2. Over the last few years most of your time was spent diligently incorporating all of the suggestions from your critique panels
  3. You believe that each mark you make is divine and ineffable
  4. You are claustrophobic and cannot bear to ride an elevator filled with art students
  5. Your truly bohemian life consists of spending all your time outside telling people about your art, rather than inside your studio making it
  6. You are in the middle of founding a Republic and intend on keeping artists out of it like your old buddy Plato
  7. Your tightly rendered watercolors of the Austrian country side keep getting rejected by every art school in the world, (the world will pay!)
  8. You wish those pesky art professors would mind their own business
  9. You have considered applying for SAIC’s “athletic incentive” scholarship
  10. You ordered an invasion of a foreign country based on skimpy evidence about something called “weapons of mass destruction,” and are now considering a career as an artist because you are convinced that nobody will believe you in your re-election bid

No Chaperones:
A mix-tape for my middle school dance

This is a play-list of all the greatest hits of seventh and eighth grade as I remember it.  Back when bad music was great because I didn’t know any better.

  1. House of Pain, “Jump Around”
  2. Beck, “Loser”
  3. Bryan Adams, “Everything I do, I do it for you”
  4. Coolio, “Gangstas Paradise”
  5. Salt ’n’ Peppa, “Shoop”
  6. The Offspring, “Pretty fly (for a white guy)”
  7. Chris de Burgh, “Lady in Red”
  8. Ini Kamoze, “Here comes the Hot-stepper”
  9. Ace of Base, “The Sign”
  10. Warren G. and Nate Dogg, “Regulate”
  11. Kris Kross, “Jump”
  12. Right Said Fred, “I’m too sexy”




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