By Becca Carlson

This article originally appeared in print and online in The Corsair in Feb. 2018.

Art Box, one of the newest clubs at Pensacola State College (PSC), quickly set a vibrant tone for things to come this year.

Officially charted in fall 2017, the club has already begun blending campus and community connections by volunteering at events such as the Hot Glass Cold Brew Great Gatsby Edition hosted by First City Art Center (FCAC) on Jan. 26.

Inspired by advisor Kelly Schmidt, a healthy group of 12-15 active officers and club members are determined to leave their mark on campus for future members to expand upon.

“It’s important for them to support the community because they’re involved in it—and the school’s involved in it,” Schmidt said. “Anytime we can show face at an event that isn’t just through the school it helps expand our horizons and expose what we have going on at the school. It’s a great way to get members for our club, but also get students involved in things that are outside the school.”

Daniela de Castro, club president and Graphic Design Management student, has a clear and colorful vision for the club. “Basically, to connect and inspire through art. We want to grab like-minded students and learn how to network and connect with our community,” de Castro said.

This was the second time Art Box represented PSC at FCAC by helping with tasks such as monitoring the entrances and merchandise booth, checking IDs, and working the hand-crafted cup tent, but their community involvement doesn’t stop there.

Last semester, the group was invited to paint two Little Free Libraries made from old newspaper stands. “It was really fun,” said Sarah Goolsby, a graphic design major and member of Art Box. “A lot of us aren’t painters, we basically work on a computer. It was a big eye-opener to see what we could do in a different medium.”

Art Box also participated at Gallery Night in November successfully selling art pieces donated by group members, offering face painting, charcoal portraits and caricatures to fundraise for supplies.

This year, the students will be featured as artists of the month at the Feb. 16 Gallery Night which includes a special tent in a prime location on Palafox. Part of the funds from this and other fundraising events will be set aside for a scholarship to be designated at the senior art show.

Along with Gallery Night, the group hopes to take advantage of all the artistic opportunities in Pensacola like the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, Foo Foo Fest and Mardi Gras in February.

“There’s so many things that we can get involved in as a club. We’re just bursting with ideas,” said de Castro.

Among those ideas is starting an outreach program with local schools working oneon-one or providing workshops.

The club keeps the inspiration flowing by inviting industry professionals like graphic designer Katie Cooper last fall and Aislinn Kate, a successful wedding photographer who will be speaking to students on Feb. 15.

Photo by Tykiren Willingham
Art Box club Treasurer Tim Bednarczyk and PSC Alum Christopher Mills volunteer at First City Art Center on Jan. 26, 2018.

As club treasurer, Tim Bednarczyk is excited about the opportunity to hear from professionals in the community. “I’m very interested. I haven’t had many opportunities to see people from the industry talk about their work and their job,” said Bednarczyk who is pursuing an A.S. degree in both graphic design and photography.

Fellow photography major, Nick Bridges, agrees that hearing from professionals in the field is a great opportunity for students.

“Getting any industry advice from anyone is always helpful. Especially going to events like [Hot Glass Cold Brew] with people who work artistically—it’s good to meet those people, but it’s good to meet industry people too,” Bridges said.

Art Box also hopes to build a connection with other school organizations such as the Cosmetology Club and the theatre department by collaborating on fashion shows and performances.

At the meetings, members are invited to lead workshops in their area of interest. Recently, a charcoal portrait workshop was led by de Castro. “Not everyone can take drawing classes or learn photography, but by making a small network of students we can teach each other these things and make everyone a more well-rounded artist,” Bridges said.

The club meets every other Thursday (Feb. 1 and 15) at 5 p.m. in room 1590 in the art building.

Whether it’s community involvement or continual improvement and inspiration, Art Box has a place for those who have the desire to challenge themselves artistically.

“They’re great. I couldn’t ask for a better group of students,” Schmidt said.