Crit Club: Students of Color

Purpose:

Students within the School of Art at the Cooper Union are meeting together to form their own critique space centered around race, ethnicity, and cultural background. As PoC in a predominantly white school and field, we’ve found that art that addresses race, whether it is centered around race or even acknowledges race, results in discouraging and unproductive crits because the subject is ignored or sidelined. In overwhelmingly white classes if we want our work to be addressed in the context of race and/or ethnicity we are expected to take time to explain, and our studio classes don’t accommodate the time this requires. Race and ethnicity are complicated but important subjects to unpack and learn about together, we’re creating a space to do it. We believe that establishing trust and community can help us talk about race in a focused way. And that for us, as Students of Color, to gather not only to crit our work but also to have a space to talk about the issues we are experiencing helps us heal as a community.

Contribution:

We want to bring the conversation on race to Cooper Union. Like any other institution, there are hierarchies in place that continue to marginalize people of color (PoC), no matter how progressive. As we’re living in New York City, central to movements with #BlackLivesMatter, what is Cooper Union doing to educate its community members? If the forum can be opened here, then they can be shared with the other communities that our students connect with. Instead of silencing the issue, let’s talk about it and voice the frustrations and strides together.

So far, School of Art students at Cooper Union have been organizing to make a space to talk about how race influences our artwork. As our club continues to grow, we want to welcome all students in the school to share their own experiences and knowledge on race.
We want to bring in movies that feature students of color (ex. Girlhood / Bande de filles (2014), Pariah (2011)) and invite people of color (PoC) artists to give lectures and workshops.

Current Club Officers:

OfficerTitle
Katherine Pe BenitoFounder
Jonathan CubaFounder
Anamika SinghPresident