Student Government Association senators representing the College of Visual Arts and Design Asia Youngs-Bailey and Kiasi Young, with help from UNT administration officials, are working to create an Art Closet for students. The closet would resemble the food pantry but for art supplies.
Youngs-Bailey, who is a photography sophomore, said that when she came to UNT, she had a lot of the supplies needed for CVAD classes back at home.
“I had to pay a lot of money for some things I basically already had,” Youngs-Bailey said. “So when I came into my position, I was wondering, ‘what about those people who don’t have [supplies]?’ There are supplies that we need by the next class period so what about students who can’t access that, what about students who don’t have those funds, because art can be pretty expensive.”
That is when she came up with the idea for the Art Closet, an idea she shared with fellow CVAD senator and new media arts junior Kiasi Young.
“When I got appointed as SGA senator, one of my ideas was to get an art closet made,” Young said. “So Asia also had that idea so when she heard me say it, she was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve been thinking about that.’”
Young said that as a freshman, after buying her art supplies for class, “I no longer had any money.”
“So I was pretty much broke and having to work three jobs my freshman year,” Young said.
Young said that between the art kits and the individual supply lists for design classes, “that can break you up like $400, $500 dollars a semester.”
New media arts freshman Jarrett Crepeau said he has scholarship money to pay for the supplies his classes require.
“But I have talked to plenty of my [classmates] that opted to buy supplies as they needed it for each project due to the cost of the kits,” Crepeau said through Twitter.
He also said that the Art Closet sounds like it would be very helpful.
“I think that if CVAD helped students get their supplies or at least provided some of the more expensive things like the paper,” Crepeau said. “People would be able to focus more on their school work/projects rather than the cost of their supplies.”
Communication design freshman Gina Soto said the idea of the Art Closet sounds “lovely.”
“Having potentially expensive supplies accessible to low-income or struggling students would take a lot of stress out of being an art student!” she said through Twitter.
Soto also said that there are “communication discrepancies regarding the supplies needed to be a CVAD student.”
“Like I had mentioned, the Foundations professor push the kits from Voertman’s heavily,” Soto said. “Which, I understand, they are trying to support the small business that is Voertman’s, but I can’t help but think I wasted my money after seeing the contents of the kits I purchased. Not only that, but more often than not, when it came time to use the supplies in the kits, the instructors had to preference on the quality of product we used.”
Soto said that after seeing the contents of the art kit she purchased, she realized she already had a lot of what was in the kit such as drawing pencils, paintbrushes, scissors and a paint palette.
“I think better understanding what a student truly needs for the courses will be the most helpful thing they could do,” Soto said.
Currently, Youngs-Bailey and Young have been in meetings discussing the Art Closet and recently secured space in the CVAD building for it.
“We found that out last week and of course, we were super excited about it,” Young said. “We actually will be able to start cleaning it out starting on Wednesday [May 1], so after Wednesday, hopefully it’ll be available to start putting all of our supplies in there and by next semester, we’ll have it hopefully fully running.”
Youngs-Bailey said that she feels like “when finances are involved, there can be self-esteem issues.”
“Sometimes that can probably hinder how you feel about school, hinder how you feel about your major, how you feel about your career and how you want to go about your practice because sometimes that matters,” Youngs-Bailey said. “But I don’t want that to be a problem. I want students to still be passionate but also have the resources to be passionate.”
Featured Image: CVAD SGA senators aim to create an art supplies closet to help alleviate costs for art students. Image by: Trevor Seibert.