Teresa Taylor — Staff Writer
As a kickoff event for the fall 2022 semester, the D’Arte Club reworked the Inktober challenge for Dordt University students. Junior Meggie Kleveland and freshman Abby Grace Caldwell created 31 prompts for the 31 days of October. On their own time and at their own pace, students use the prompts to create artwork with pens, pencils, paints, or whatever medium they choose. Then they may submit their work to the club’s Instagram page.
The greatest amount of participation occurred in the first week, but involvement has been steady throughout the month. The club held an Inktober kickoff during Arts on the Prairie with “Prairie” as the prompt for the day. Student’s reactions to the prompts vary dramatically. On Oct. 15, Kleveland and Caldwell included a free day. Twice, they gave two prompts and encouraged participants to choose their favorite.
“We thought it would be a good event to start off with because it would be pretty low commitment going into it to get it going,” Kleveland said.
She and Caldwell saw Inktober as a casual introduction of D’Arte to campus, especially to new students.
“Transitioning from a new school year and different leadership, we weren’t set up by the time the club fair happened, so we don’t have an email list,” Kleveland said. “This semester, it’s just going to be mostly marketing through posters and social media and word of mouth.”
D’Arte aims to give art majors opportunities to create art outside of class without the responsibility of a grade and non-art majors chances to try new mediums and engage their creative sides.
“Art is actually essential for our brains,” Caldwell said. “It is essential for students.”
She referred to studies proving students who employ their creativity will experience increased academic success and develop stronger collaboration and problem-solving skills.
“Because we’re usually stuck to our laptops and in the midst of studying and doing all this brain work, it’s just really good to be able to pause and do something with your hands,” Kleveland said. “College students need that creative outlet.”
D’Arte is more inclusive and lower commitment than other clubs. Every student on campus may attend events without enrolling in the club. Like art itself, D’Arte aims to reach everyone and let their imagination manifest outside of required essays, worksheets, or quizzes.
“Art is the way that I recharge,” Caldwell said. “If I don’t paint, I go crazy. I lose my mind. Everybody has that thing that they have to do to reset themselves, to get their brain back in the flow.”
Kleveland and Caldwell are planning for the rest of the year, including come-and-go events and workshops. They strive to plan events that are both enjoyable, educational, and not so difficult that students don’t attend.
“We don’t want to limit it to certain people,” Kleveland said.
Kleveland doesn’t want students to feel as if they need certain skills to attend events and participate in activities. From stick figures and wonky circles to advanced shading or paintwork, students can make art for the sole reason of letting their imagination work.
“There is something to be said about creating just for the sake of creating,” Kleveland said.