Amplifying the Arts Student Organization hosted an arts and crafts fair, Homemade for the Holidays Dec. 1 in the Student Center, featuring arts and crafts created by student artists.
The fair was backed by the Arts Management class at EMU in which students participate in group projects, and the student organization AMP! heads up each one of the groups.
AMP! is the student organization of the Arts & Entertainment Management & Administration Programs at Eastern Michigan University and has been at EMU for 10 years. Throughout the semester AMP! hosts different art related activities on campus and throughout the greater community.
One vender was Graduate Assistant Jenny Rogers, AMP! member-at-large. Rogers had her own artwork on display which featured a character she created named Sophie on cards and posters.
“I developed this Character named Sophie—I’ve written a children’s book, and I have her on greetings cards, buttons and other gift items. I call them happy decks, so they’re decks of cards that have thoughtful sayings on them,” Rogers said. “I’m also a face painter and do body art. It’s all positive affirmation that incorporates artwork, fun stuff like that.”
Not all of the student art vendors were enrolled in the Arts Management class, and some were new to creating art altogether.
“This gives students an opportunity to share what they do with the community and to have an opportunity to make some money. Some students are entrepreneurs like that,” said Rogers.
Sarah Apple is the Secretary of AMP!, and was designing gift bags and wrapping papers for buyers to place their gifts in.
“I’m really glad I joined because kind of has brought me out of my shell, before I felt like I was just kind of going here,” Apple said. “Then I joined Arts Management and AMP!, and now I have friends!”
Hannah Christensen is a senior majoring in psychology. She sold her paintings made on small canvases and each had a holiday theme. “It’s something I do for fun. I’ve never sold them before, so this is very new,” she said.
Sophomore Josh Smith is majoring in Arts & Entertainment Management with a double-minor in Entrepreneurship and Theater. He taught himself how to paint just last summer, and has been painting ever since.
“It’s something I just enjoy doing in my free time, and the expression on that persons face when I sell give them a piece of my work—that’s what fulfills me. It’s therapeutic in a way too.”
He has developed his own techniques and has had success recreating some of his favorite cartoon characters which appeal to other fans.
“It’s a really good feeling, I made quite a few bucks today which is always a good thing, but just the exposure through the event is cool. I had a lot of people come by and praising me for my skill, which is something I don’t get everyday because I do my work in the privacy of my own home and no one really knows,” Smith said. “It’s a cool opportunity, I wish we did this every month.”
Kavana Smith is a Sophomore at EMU, majoring in Art Education. Smith isn’t directly associated with AMP! but was introduced to it by friends. She’s been creating art just about her whole life, and so saw an opportunity to display some of her work.
“I like to make art because it’s a feel-good thing,” Smith said. “I think my art is an extension of me, it’s my thoughts and my concepts. I’m a very conceptual artist, so I love that aspect of art.”
Smith talked about a piece of her artwork called “Black-boy Magic”, which represents the slain victim of police violence, Joseph Mann, who was shot 16 times in July this year.
“People define black males in a way that isn’t true to reality,” Smith said. “There are 16 bullet-wounds represented on his body. The fact that black men are getting killed, so that’s a visual representation, but the painting is also very bright. I want to show that no matter how many bullets you put around us, and no matter how many times you can mentally break us down -- we’re still bright, and there’s nothing that can take away what makes us shine.”