By Pete Barell
Arts and Entertainment Editor
There are a myriad of arts-related clubs and organizations on campus to suit the needs of any student with a creative spark. The clubs, which provide a way for students to network and make friends with like-minded people, are open to all students. As we commence the fall semester, these clubs have began meeting and planning their activities.
Emerging Student Theatre Artists, or ESTA, is the leading theatre club on campus. The club aims to produce and foster challenging theatre, and converge creative minds. Meetings are held at 8:30 p.m. on Sundays on the Little Theatre Mainstage.
The ESTA recently merged with the Say Anything Improv over the summer, a stage group that performs sketch comedy on campus, influenced by professionals like the Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC. Members from these clubs realized that they had a similar group of attendees, and that a merger would be beneficial. The result: less conflict of scheduling and a more unified network of theatre students. Their advisor is Heather Drastal, the General Manager of the Post Theatre Company.
“I first became involved with ESTA at the beginning of my freshman year,” said senior Musical Theatre major Anna Bitteridge, president of ESTA. “It was a newly reinstated club [that] was trying to get back up on its feet. I became the club president my sophomore year, and I am proud to say I have seen the club grow in so many ways. ESTA has a long history as a part of LIU and I really want to keep that alive to give people the chance to create theatre and experience it.”
Members of ESTA plan on putting on a show this fall that will be produced and star solely the female members of the Theatre department. “We also plan on doing a Second Annual New Play Festival, where we will have a night of student written plays,” continued Bitteridge. “This was a huge hit last semester and it’s definitely a tradition we’d like to keep going.”
Bitteridge took a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland over the summer to perform the show “Conditions of Love” with other Theater students at the Fringe Arts Festival. There, she and other ESTA members had a new realization inspired by the variety of art being created and about the role of the club. “ESTA is not just for actors, or acting majors,” she said. “It is for anyone at all who has something they want to try out or create. If you write plays, sing, dance, or just love to watch theatre, ESTA is the place to do it. We are constantly encouraging new members to stop in.”
PTV is the local, student-run television station on campus. The PTV club holds meetings in their studio on the second floor of the Humanities building. These facilities are used to create original programing, shows, and events. They include cameras, recording devices and mixing boards, lights, and other professional equipment. Their first meeting will be held Sept. 25 during common hour. The club is planning an awards show this year, which will feature video projects by media students.
WCWP (88.1 FM) is the campus radio station, located behind Hillwood Commons. The station has their own radio tower and equipment, and broadcasts are student-programed, some of which have their own talk and music shows. WCWP began presenting live radio play performances in the spring, with the Play Troupe of Port Washington. On Saturday, Sept. 27, “The Philadelphia Story” will be performed for the radio live by the troupe, at 1 p.m. in the Hillwood Recital Hall. For ticketing information, and to learn more about how to get involved with the station, visit wcwp.org. On Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 12:30 p.m., the station is holding a campus-wide promo event on the Hillwood Commons rooftop. The event is free and open to all students, staff, and faculty.
Although technically not a club, WCWP, which is part of the Media Arts Department in the School of Visual and Performing Arts, welcomes new members of all majors. General staff meetings are not consistently on a weekly basis, and are held in Humanities room 020.
The Art and Art History club serves as another resource for the arts: events, films, exhibitions, and lectures. Club members meet Wednesdays during common hour in Hillwood Commons, room 214.
In the past, this club has held informative and interactive events, such as Haxus last April. The Haxus event was on the Great Lawn in front of Hillwood Commons, and featured a lecture about 1960s performance art called Happenings and Fluxus, by advisor and Art Department professor Aileen Wang. The lecture was followed by a demonstration of the techniques by club members and passersby, focusing on freedom of expression.
“You don’t have to be a Picasso, just bring an open mind and let your creativity take the lead. That’s what matters because we hope to appeal to any and all students,” said president Stacie Zucker, a junior Digital Arts and Design major. “This club tries to appeal to all aspects and kinds of art; art history, painting, drawing, performance art, careers in the art industry, and getting involved in the art community. You name it, we try to cover it all. We’re all very friendly and open to new ideas and ways to express ourselves.”
“Networking is one of the most important tools in today’s professional world and the Art and Art History Club does a fantastic job networking,” said senior Art History major Joseph DeLeon, treasurer of the club. DeLeon was one of the founding members of the club in Fall 2013, and watched it expand under other members such as Zucker, while he was studying abroad. His job as treasurer is key, helping to create
the club budget, request funds, and take care of other expenses. This year, DeLeon hopes to raise funds on a larger scale in order to host more events to benefit the club and the university.
“I feel that the most difficult challenge a university club faces is gaining funds,” said DeLeon. “While small events, such as a bake sale, are ways of raising money, it is really a small amount. Our club members do not need to pay dues the way a sorority or a fraternity does, and therefore [our budget] truly relies on fundraising.”
The Art and Art History Club has held panel discussions with professionals in the art world, aided by professors and club advisors who have connections within the industry. Recent graduates return to provide insight on their job search and employment experiences. Additionally, museum trips are standard.
Wang, who formerly worked at the art auction house of Christie’s in NYC, plans trips every semester; the students experience a live auction and attend a private lecture by a Christie’s educator. There will be a professional panel on Thursday, Oct. 9, featuring Sharon Matt Atkins, Managing Curator of Exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum during common hour in the Steinberg Museum of Art.
Another artist network on campus is the Student Art League. The SAL has a gallery on the first floor of Hillwood Commons, where Art students often display new works. Meetings are currently being held Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. in Hillwood Commons near the Student Art League Gallery, until a room can be secured. SAL activities include gallery visits, involvement with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, art technique demonstrations, and hosting a booth at the LIU Post homecoming. Winn Rea, an art professor at LIU Post, advises the club.
“So far there are no set plans, but there will be gallery trips to the city and some other fun events happening this fall,” said senior Art Education major Danielle Savarese, president of SAL. “Like in years past, homecoming will be super fun as students and fans throw paint filled water balloons at the SAL members to raise money and create art.”
Tuesday, Sept. 23 is the grand opening of the Art Gallery Store attached to the SAL gallery in Hillwood Commons. The store will house merchandise and creative wares made by students, which will aim to be sold on consignment. This is just one of several student businesses that has recently been opened up on campus, joining The Body Shop clothing boutique and The Post Treat Shoppe in Hillwood Commons.
For more information about these and other art clubs and organizations, visit the LIU Post website clubs tab.