The Black Student Union (BSU) and the men of Gamma Sigma Zeta Fraternity Inc. turned the Downtown Binghamton club Spotlight into an art hub with their Sip ‘N’ Paint event on Saturday.
The ground floor housed an upbeat art show featuring student work, paired with booming hip-hop music and a bar that served drinks at a discount to attendees. A sip ‘n’ paint workshop, lead by local artist Juliandra Jones, took place downstairs.
Andy Jean-Baptiste, a junior double majoring in economics and philosophy, politics and law, said he enjoyed the sip ‘n’ paint.
“I just painted a galaxy,” Jean-Baptiste said. “I haven’t really painted since middle school so to be able to paint in a controlled environment was really nice.”
Beyond leading the workshop, Jones also displayed her art work, which tackle issues ranging from police brutality to self-love.
“The biggest message I have right now is definitely Black Lives Matter, that is a big key in my work,” Jones said. “I just want people to open their minds when they see my art.”
Josh Gonzalez, the social chair of Gamma Sigma Zeta and a senior majoring in geography, said that a major goal of this event was to foster an appreciation for the arts.
“We wanted to encourage people of the multicultural community to pursue the arts,” said Gonzalez, who is also the Student Association vice president for multicultural affairs. “A lot of individuals in these communities are told not to pursue the arts because they don’t pay well but creativity is something we all have to appreciate and practice, not shy away from.”
The event provided an opportunity for BU students and local artists to display their own material. The open format of the event allowed for artists of to tell their stories and explain what inspires their work.
Ronald Rivera Orna, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, found out about the event on Friday night and immediately got to work. Rivera Orna’s art is done in charcoal and is centered around a theme of empowerment, featuring images of strength like lions.
“When I was a kid some students would print out their homework for geography, but I didn’t have the money,” Rivera Orna said. “So I started drawing my assignments and I haven’t stopped since.”
This was Rivera Orna’s first art show and he said he hopes to participate in more in the future.
“It was amazing. I could see other kind of arts and meet new people who enjoy art as much as I do,” he said. “People liked my art, thank God, and I loved the kind of art other people showed.”
According to Kimori Du, a freshman majoring in biology, this event renewed her creativity.
“I just came to accompany my friend but I got exposed to a side of Binghamton I haven’t seen before,” Du said. “Being here finally inspired me to work on my art again.”
The Sip ‘N’ Paint event capped off the first week of a busy Black History Month for BSU that includes a screening of “Black Panther” on Feb. 16, a Black Excellence Brunch on Feb. 25 and a keynote speech by Regina Hall on Feb. 23.