Durham College and UOIT didn’t have a club for the arts until last year. Second year UOIT pharmaceutical chemistry student, Sabrina Ebenreth, took it upon herself to create a space for like-minded artists to connect and express their passions.
(left to right) DC-UOIT Visual Arts Club executives Melody Chang, Jasmine Rutschmann, Sabrina Ebenreth, Rachel Brunner meet on campus.
“I was already planning ahead of time [that] if there wasn’t an art club, I was going to make the art club. I wanted to do art in school still, especially since I wasn’t going to school for art, which is the same for a lot of students at UOIT,” said Ebenreth, who now serves as president of the Visual Arts Club on campus.
Ebenreth’s goal is to involve UOIT in the arts community and to incorporate the arts in a school that doesn’t offer any art programs.
“I feel like the arts are overlooked in most schools, unless it’s an art school,” Ebenreth said.
With classes in full swing, the club acts as a second home for students who want to dedicate some time outside their programs – while still on campus – to work on their art.
“Usually I can just sit down for half an hour and I’ll be able to sketch for a bit, but with school I haven’t been able to do that at all. For me, art is like home. I can express myself and be my true self,” said Rachel Brunner, a third year UOIT student who also looks after finances for the Visual Arts Club.
According to Ebenreth, starting a new club affiliated with the Student Association is a challenge. From filing forms to planning events and with more than 150 members to supply equipment for, it takes a lot of time and planning ahead to keep the club afloat.
“It’s such a tedious process to do all of these things. It takes me quite awhile, but it’s OK because it’s worth it. I want to make time for art, too, in school. If this is what I have to do to do that, then it’s worth it,” Ebenreth said.
In an effort to generate awareness for the hard work and dedication they put into creating the Visual Arts Club, members teamed up with the Whitby Station Gallery, to put together an exhibition showcasing their art. The exhibition runs in Whitby until Oct. 16.
The gallery is partnered with Durham College’s School for Media, Art and Design. For ten consecutive years, students from the art programs at DC have also had the opportunity to display their artwork.
“We really appreciate the relationship that we have with the college,” said Kerri King, chief executive officer of the Whitby Station Gallery. “It gives the students a chance to have another perspective, another way of learning.”
King encourages students and aspiring artists to get involved and connect with the art community. She believes it’s important for young artists to make themselves known.
Jasmine Rutschmann, vice-president of the club and UOIT student, believes getting into the Whitby gallery was an important opportunity for the club. “To get in the Whitby Station Gallery, that was huge for us, and huge for local arts,” and a great opportunity for students at DC and UOIT, she said.