Shapeshifting and the Art of Adaptation: Introducing Under the Library

Behind the scenes of a socially-distanced 21 Artistry shoot. Photo by Ava Mandoli.

If I’ve learned anything over the past six months, it’s that artists are some of the most resilient people on the planet. Given any emptiness, they can figure out how to fill the space.

Whether a product of necessity or desire, art has continued to emerge from the confines of quarantine. Visual artists are thriving, exploring themselves and challenging the familiarity of their surroundings. Performing artists are making the vital leap to new platforms, forgoing their brick-and-mortar theatres for outdoor and online spaces. Despite closures of storefronts, studios, and showrooms, this virtual medium allows artists to reach larger audiences than ever before, all from the comfort of their own homes.

Like artists , MICDS students have adapted to the current conditions. Over the summer, I joined a creative collective entitled 21 Artistry alongside photographer Ava Mandoli ‘21 and makeup artist Kendall Rozen ‘21. As a team, we promote each other’s work, conduct photoshoots with clients from all over St. Louis, and work to spread a message of love and inclusivity. I’ve also begun designing and curating posts for Midwave Magazine, a publication spearheaded by Barnard College and Columbia University students who seek to represent and celebrate more diverse voices in art and journalism. Meanwhile, Jack Morris ‘21, a guitarist, spent his summer blessing our Instagram feeds with Sunday night concerts, and recently held a live streamed concert fundraiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Harper Graves ‘22 started Beautiful Bottles STL, where she sells painted wine bottles for special events. Dilyn Halverson ‘21 began her online jewelry shop called nvmeless store, while Livie Warren ‘21 began showcasing her incredible drawings on Instagram. Alizeh Jawaid ‘23 dropped her song “heartbroken,” which you need to add to your playlist. The MICDS Strings Program expanded their online presence, while the Drama Program began work on two innovative online productions. Overall, MICDS artists seem to be prospering despite the rather dystopian state of our world.

That’s where we come in.

We’re Under the Library, a blog brought to you by the MICDS Arts Council. We celebrate student achievement, discuss cool new techniques, and approach social issues through an artistic lens. Maybe we’ll educate you on something you should care about; maybe we’ll inspire you to create something of your own. We’re here to help you cope with the chaos and face it head-on. Through all of this, we hope to show you that collaboration and inspiration during this time are not impossible: visibility for the arts is more important now than ever.

In short, we talk about art stuff. And in this moment--this odd, exciting moment--our art stuff just happens to be shapeshifting.

Go Rams,

Mimi Brown ‘21 Editor in Chief

[Post edited by Cal Barton ‘21.]

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