Maroon Art Club creates inclusive space


Before the first Maroon Art Club meeting, co-president Jacob Pearsall writes a welcome message on the whiteboard. The introductory meeting on October 3 allowed all students to get to know each other and prepare for the upcoming semester. Photo by Olivia de Lamadrid

A quick idea has catapulted itself into reality with the creation of the Maroon Art Club by co-presidents Alyssa Koh and Jacob Pearsall. Their combined experience and passion for inclusivity are the driving force behind the club’s success so far.

“I’ve never seen a club president like Alyssa before. She filled this room with just the first meeting, which is just amazing,” club advisor Mrs. Deborah Lane said.

Pearsall and Koh have been promoting the club on social media and within their classes in order to grow the club as much as possible.

Before the lunch bell rings, Jacob Pearsall and Alyssa Koh discuss their plans for the meeting. Alyssa prepared handouts for new art club members that outline the club rules. Photo by Olivia de Lamadrid.

Koh has been creating art for six years. This past summer, she attended the California State Summer School of the Arts (CSSA), where she first had the idea to create the club. Koh studied animation and stayed at the CalArts campus. During the month-long program, she was introduced to a variety of artists, many of whom identified within the LGBT community. For this reason, creating a safe and inclusive space was a must when brainstorming ideas for the club with Pearsall.

We are very adamant about making it clear that at our club, people can be open and be whoever they want to be without judgment,

— Jacob Pearsall

During the first meeting, Koh and Pearsall lead an icebreaker activity where all students were given the chance to introduce themselves, which included sharing their preferred pronouns.

“Pronouns don’t get discussed a lot, but I think they should be. There’s a lot of stigma and misinformation surrounding them, and I wanted to create a place where people can define themselves and have others respect them,” Alyssa said.

Another goal of the club is to expand people’s creativity and help them grow as artists, even if they don’t see themselves as artists. As a way to start interacting with the new club members, Pearsall threw a copy of “Frankenstein” into the crowd. The person who caught it flipped to a random page and picked out the first word they saw. Then he explained how this could become the inspiration for a piece of art. 

Club Treasurer Kushi Khant holds “Frankenstein” after catching it from Jacob. This was a part of a new activity to help students get to know each other and give them an introduction to future activities. Photo by Olivia de Lamadrid

“By using a book, it helps focus the idea, and with it being at random, it allows anyone in the club to participate and be the main input of the meeting,” Pearsall said.

Regardless of a person’s experience with art, all are encouraged to join.

Pearsall said, “In my opinion, everyone’s an artist. What differentiates a person who considers themselves an artist and a person who doesn’t isn’t their technical skill or what they do. It’s about how they deliver their ideas to the world. We encourage everyone to come because, ultimately, our club isn’t just about drawing. We want to let people express themselves.”