The Southern Editor
Student-led organization “Cadmium Rats Art Club” (CRAC) gives students who get accepted into the club a chance to showcase their art to the public and sell it to buyers.
The idea began with senior Alex Martinez, a studio art major who wanted to get her artwork shown and made available for purchase. The club started running unofficially last year with on-campus literary arts journal, Cantilevers Journal, and it officially became a Student Government Association (SGA) recognized organization last fall.
“I felt that the visual arts department didn’t facilitate a lot of opportunities for students to sell or promote their artwork in any way,” Martinez said. “We have exhibitions where people are free to walk around and look at student artwork, but no one ever really buys them.”
Getting students’ artwork into the public eye is the primary goal of CRAC, as it gives art students/students who create art the option to display it in-person in a contained venue with buyers who can purchase their artwork. These markets give students passionate about art the ability to make money off their work and show it to others separate from the FSC community.
“There’s business majors who do art on the side and want to continue doing so, and earn a monetary means by doing it,” Martinez said.
There is an application process to get accepted into CRAC, which is submitting a portfolio containing at least five pieces of artwork of any medium and a short paragraph on why the student wants to join. It can be painting, digital or fan-art – as long as it can be sold in an art market, the artwork is welcome. Applications are on a rolling basis, so students can apply at any time within the semester.
Currently led by Club President Martinez, senior Sarah Conte serves as the Vice President, assisting with the planning of the markets and considering who receives acceptance into the club.
While there are opportunities for students in the art department to exhibit their artwork a few times a year, there aren’t any events where their work is being promoted/sold to buyers. In years past, Martinez said that Dr. Anne Kerr and her associates have purchased pieces from student exhibits before, but purchasing of students’ work is seemingly halted at the moment.
“I think since COVID that’s stopped,” Martinez said. “And I really want to bring that back and give students the opportunity to earn money off their artwork.”
The art department produces three or four shows per year, including an all-student showcase, the senior thesis show at the end of the year and typically another show in between those. While mandatory for art students to attend all the shows, the rest of the student population isn’t as aware of them.
“Apart from friends or family members, no one else really attends those,” Martinez said. “Which is really unfortunate, but I also think it’s partially because of where the gallery is located, and that not a lot of people know that we even have an art building.”
Moving forward, CRAC wants to continue art markets and exhibitions, which Martinez commissions artists to create posters/flyers for the event information.
The next official CRAC event is in partnership with Cantilevers Journal, planned for the Friday before Valentine’s Day on Feb. 9, where artwork and books will be on sale, as well as a possible raffle. An idea to do an exhibition with artifacts in collaboration with the Polk Museum of Art was in the works, but hasn’t been officially scheduled.