It is no secret that Auburn University is a school that thrives off of the reputation and success of its STEM programs. However, a new group of students is pushing for Auburn’s art programs and museum, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, to finally have a seat at the table through a new student organization: the 901 Collective.
The 901 Collective, by definition, is a student organization associated with the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. The inspiration for the name comes from the fact that the address for the museum is located on 901 College St. It seeks to not only encourage more student collaboration within the art museum but also to showcase the museum as a place that Auburn students can utilize more than they usually do in their day-to-day lives.
“The students in the 901 Collective work to debunk the stereotype of the quiet, boring atmosphere of museums and show their peers that the museum is a place to relax, to study, to hang out, to eat, to shop and to take in the beauty that surrounds them” said Caroline Stone, Student Assistant for Communications and Marketing at the museum.
It is not so much as what students can do for the 901 Collective, but what the 901 Collective can do for students. The organization seeks to take the ideas and future hopes of Auburn’s budding artists and help them get to where they need to go. The faculty of Jule Collins wants to help students reach their goals within the art realm and encourage students along their journey to becoming an artist.
“The 901 Collective is a new initiative at the art museum to provide Auburn students the opportunity to gain real-world experience within different departments of the museum and develop programs for university students and the Auburn community,” said Xoe Fiss, the K-12 Curator of Education for the museum.
The 901 Collective is by no means the largest student organization on campus, but, with its humbling number of 15 members, it seeks to make a noise that will shake up the status quo in the community. While arts are respected in Auburn, Stone believes that in comparison to larger cities in the Southeast, Auburn could be doing more to push for the expansion and promotion of its art programs.
“I believe that art doesn’t have to the focal point that it should here in Auburn," Stone said. "The JCSM is rarely on the forefront of students minds, except in special cases like the bunnies sculpture. Part of what made me want to join the 901 Collective was to help bring more students to the museum."
In the future Stone sees this club expanding past 15 members and infiltrating the Auburn arts community as a whole.
“I see more students visiting the museum to view the art, but also just to hang out," Stone said. "There’s wifi at the museum and it’s a fantastic quiet place to go and study. I think the art community is absolutely growing on campus through our fine arts majors and at the museums. Art in Auburn isn’t where it could be, but we’ve made great improvements."