The Hopkins art scene has been bustling as the thick of winter approaches, and clubs have been essential in involving the student body in artistic projects
Harmonies for Healing, Dance Crew, and the aptly-named Art Club are just a few of the student-led groups promoting art on campus through performances, installations, and other projects.
According to heads of Harmonies For Healing Melody Cui ’23, Nick Lee ’23, and Daniela Rodriguez-Larrain Fernandez ’23, the main goal of the club is “to provide a space for student musicians to perform and share their craft while simultaneously raising money to support different organizations.” On the evening of November 11, the club hosted a Fall Fest Benefit Concert to fundraise for Kids Empowered by Your Support (KEYS), a nonprofit organization that works to provide music education to inner-city students. Lee began volunteering for KEYS in 2019, “teaching students how to play violin and assisting the music teachers there.” He “[loved] how passionate everyone there is about providing music education,” and Harmonies for Healing wanted to aid a local organization, so KEYS “seemed like the perfect fit.”
The night featured performances from fourteen students as soloists or in chamber groups, as well as from Jazz Combo, and a capella groups the Overtones and the Harmonaires. The club heads shared: “The concert was amazing! Everyone who performed sounded great, and we had a great balance of musical styles and pieces, everything from classical to jazz to pop, something we owe to the great diversity of musicians at Hopkins. Our audience thoroughly enjoyed every performance, which directly translated to over $400 donations for KEYS!”
This year, Dance Crew has performed multiple times at Assembly and at school events like Night on Haunted Hill and Back to School Bash. On November 18, Dance Crew performed to “Running Up that Hill” by Kate Bush during the halftime show for the Boys’ Volleyball game. Co-head of Dance Crew Vedant Aryan ’24 shared the club’s mission: “To spread the beauty of dancing through choreography and performances, to immerse members in different styles of dance, and [to] showcase students’ choreography.”
Dance Crew is currently crafting a longer performance to “New Magic Wand” by Tyler the Creator, “that mixes both hip hop and contemporary [dance],” and the club hopes to create a complete showcase toward the end of the school year. They strive to value everyone’s innate talent, and “want everyone at Hopkins to know that there is no dance experience needed to join Dance Crew, and that it is never too late to join.” Aryan continued, “Anybody can dance, so we would love to have more dancers!”
Art Club is another active group of artists on campus, led by Vivian Wang ’23 and Sofia Schaffer ’23. Wang said that their club mission is “to unite students who have a passion for visual arts in a welcoming and enriching community that will provide them with the opportunity to develop their art skills, express their creativity, and collaborate with other artists.” The club welcomes students with any level of experience in visual arts, and it provides a space to “learn and relieve some stress from their busy academic life,” according to Wang. She added that the club’s meetings vary from a “chill drawing period where students can come in and take 20-30 minutes [to draw] something based on a given a prompt” to conversations between students and local professional artists over Zoom. Guest artists typically speak about their work, respond to questions, and then do a brief demonstration using their preferred artistic medium.
Members of these art clubs can explore their love for art without the typical restraints of a class. Cui, Lee, and Rodriguez-Larrain Fernandez spoke about the advantages that come with being involved in an art-based club as opposed to enrolling in an art class: “We aren’t restricted to any specific schedule and we let performers practice on their own time. It gives a lot of freedom and flexibility to our members and is in general less pressure.” Wang voiced a similar opinion: “I’ve always felt like art class is more about learning the material and completing projects/assignments. At Art Club…it’s definitely less rigid and more inclusive, since the club is open to anyone, even to those with little to no art experience, and our meetings are just opportunities for students to express their creativity in whichever way they like.”
Art-based clubs will continue to foster creativity and community on campus into the new year. Harmonies for Healing plans to organize two more concerts this school year, one in the spring and another at the end of the year, and Art Club hopes to complete two main projects during the coming school year: “The first is a potential field trip to an art museum (probably the Yale Art Gallery), and the second is completing a mural, either on campus or off campus in New Haven,” said Wang.