After a two-year absence, the Binghamton University Art Co-op reopened last week.
The Co-op sells art supplies at cost, allowing them to undercut the prices of other dealers such as A.C. Moore and Michaels Arts and Crafts. It also functions as a kind of student art market, as the Co-op displays student artwork in exchange for 20 percent of the profits if it is sold. To determine the price, students can bring their artwork to the Co-op during regular hours and determine its monetary value with Co-op volunteers.
The Co-op, located in Fine Arts Building room 236, is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Friday between 1 and 3 p.m. It also offers free drawing classes every Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Students can use the Co-op’s supplies or bring their own.
Among the supplies for sale at the Co-op are paints, paper, pencils, charcoal, brushes and erasers, as well as material for graphics, printmaking and sculpture.
The Co-op reopened as part of the Binghamton University Fine Arts Society’s larger mission to make student art more visible on campus, according to Michelle Asarch, the vice president of the society.
“It has been closed for the last two years and we honestly don’t know why,” said Asarch, a sophomore double-majoring in English and studio art. “We felt it would make a great addition to the campus to reopen.”
Like the Food Co-op, the Art Co-op is run entirely by volunteers. Volunteers get a 10 to 15 percent discount on all art supplies in exchange for working one to two hours per week.
Currently, the members of the BU Fine Arts Society comprise the entire volunteer base, but Asarch hopes to enlist the help of other art-focused campus groups.
“We want to promote and unite the arts on campus and feel that this is a great first step since, hey, we all need art supplies,” Asarch said.
Alex Baer, a sophomore double-majoring in English and psychology, is excited to see students taking initiative to foster the campus’ artistic community.
“It’s inspiring to see a group of students to take interest in this and start something that I know will be a positive thing for the BU community,” Baer said.
Alexander Leiss, the president of the Binghamton University Fine Arts Society, hopes the Co-op will maintain its early presence on campus.
“I hope that the Co-op will remain open for years to come, and after the positive reaction we received during our first week open and the commitment of volunteers, I believe this desire will come true,” said Leiss, a sophomore double-majoring in cinema and studio art.
Amy Kurtzberg, a junior majoring in art history, said the Co-op is particularly useful for students hoping to sell their artwork.
“It’s a way for them to express themselves and make money off of what they create,” Kurtzberg said.