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The Art of Community

By Tyler McCabe, SPU Senior Majoring in Creative Writing


LinguaDo you have a student who is involved with the arts, whether as an academic major or as a hobby? Then Lingua, SPU's student-led arts organization, might be a good fit. The following snapshot offers a few of the organization's benefits. For more details, contact mccabm1@spu.edu.

It's Thursday evening, March 3. And in Weter Hall lounge on Seattle Pacific University's campus, something special is happening.

Tables overflow with scrap paper and glue, fabric, old photographs, spools of thread, and dozens of students sift through it all, cutting and folding while chatting among friends. Eclectic music and laughter invite visitors to join in. And off to the side is a lit display of small magazines, with a sign reading LINGUA and FREE.

What's in the magazines? Pick one up, flip to the first page — and enter the world of art at SPU.

Spreading Student Art, Writing, and Music

What you've encountered with this scene is the Winter Zine Launch Party and Journal-Making night, an annual event hosted by Lingua — the student-run art and literary organization at SPU.

The Winter Zine — a compilation of original visual art and creative writing by SPU students — is the second of two short publications that Lingua publishes during Autumn and Winter Quarters. These lead up to the organization's annual journal in the spring, also called Lingua, which is longer and features not only visual art and writing but a CD of original music composed by students.

"Lingua gives artists and art lovers a chance to all come together — which, in the end, is the real beauty of art, isn't it?"

"Lingua's publications allow student artists to see what others are creating. And the publications provide an avenue for students to share their own work and receive feedback," says Lexie Hoffman, an SPU senior illustration major and former Lingua staff member.

"It's just so crucial [for artists] to start submitting work," adds Hoffman. "It will be helpful down the road to say, 'I was lucky enough to have some of my work published.' It's a great résumé builder."

A Valuable Process

In addition to providing opportunities for college students and developing artists to have their work published, Lingua offers a way for students to test their work against a selection process. Students can even get involved in the process if they'd like by becoming a staff member of the organization.

Lingua staff members learn about constructing, editing, planning, and marketing as they work on the various publications and events throughout the year. In this way, Lingua challenges artists on both sides of the creative process.

Editor, painter, poet, designer, musician, marketer, enthusiast, and English buff can all plug into some part of Lingua.

The Real Beauty — Creative Community

Lingua"[Lingua] stimulates curiosity and creativity in the SPU student body," says Hoffman. "If we can foster an attitude of appreciation for the arts while stimulating creativity, this produces an atmosphere of empowerment and community, giving not only art and English majors but all students a voice, an outlet."

And having a voice and outlet, as it goes, also happens to be incredibly fun.

Take the launch of the Lingua Fall Zine during Autumn Quarter. It involved a concert lineup of student bands at the Q Café near SPU's campus, and was organized and broadcast by KSPU, the campus radio station. Students danced and cheered on their musical peers, and took breaks to thumb through incredible art.

Or, take December's Exhale worship night, where students and faculty were invited to commune with God through tactile art. Words can't describe the profound sense of calm as people came together to paint, draw, and sculpt in response to God's provision.

And that's what Lingua does. It gives artists and art lovers a chance to all come together — which, in the end, is the real beauty of art, isn't it? To know more fully the people around you and therein come to know yourself.

As Hoffman says, "Being in the presence of other creative minds does wonders for the mind and the soul."

Want a copy of Lingua?
The 2011 Lingua journal is soft bound, beautiful, and 80 full-color pages. And at just $13, it makes for an affordable and attractive way to spotlight the best work SPU student artists and writers have to offer. If you'd like to purchase a copy, contact mccabm1@spu.edu for details.

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