New club encourages art, activism

It’s a typical Thursday dinner in the cafeteria when a group of students dressed all in black suddenly begin congregating between the cereal and the silverware. Some are banging on plates with silverware, while others seem to be performing interpretive dance.

This is Political Activism through Art, Guilford’s newest approved club. They called their performance in the cafeteria, “The Happening.” The demonstration was designed to bring awareness to the revolution in Egypt.

“It was an innovative way to bring our attention to the situation in Egypt,” said first-year Chloe Weiner, spectator of the event that occurred on Feb 3.

“I think that our first ‘Happening’ went off well,” said first-year and PAA member Lyes Bernarbane. “We got the response that we wanted, but we are still very open to criticism and are very open to people in the community approaching us and telling us about the various problems or improvements that they think we could make.”

Sophmore Tim Leisman said that the concept for the group was born at 1 a.m. when he and his roommate, sophomore Beau Young, were thinking of ways to address apathy towards social justice in the Millennium generation. The idea was influenced by Young’s musical involvement with Superteam (a local rap group) and their mutual interest in art.

“One of our principles is in-your-face placement of art, and there is nothing more in-your-face than going into the cafeteria and banging on plates in front of people,” said Leisman, co-creator of the group.

“One thing we’re really trying to do is reach out to those artists and see how can we expand our message of community service, how can we expand our message of being involved and being politically and socially active, and work towards social justice through the means of artwork,” said Leisman.

It seems the artists on campus are responding: 25 people were present for the first meeting, before the group was officially a club, according to Leisman.

PAA aims to expand to more of the Guilford campus and beyond Guilford. According to Leisman, a student from Bennett College and a student from A&T University have expressed interest, as well as a contact in Florida who started his own chapter of PAA.

The club’s next event will be centered on the alleged racial profiling of two A&T students. On Thursday Feb. 24, the students will have their court date. Leisman and others involved hope to fill the courthouse with students in protest of the possible racial profiling.

This event is an example of the group and idea spreading beyond Guilford. According to Leisman, there is potential to work with A&T, Bennett College, UNC-Greensboro, and socially active drum corps, Cakalak Thunder.

When asked about collaborating with different groups and people in the community, Leisman replied, “I want to do everything.”