Written by SM Dipali
In a building that, on most days, is filled with students hyper concerned with their latest finance assignment, three undergraduate Stern students are attempting to transform how we view the “typical” business student. On April 16th, the entire 11th floor of KMEC was transformed into the unexpected: an art gallery.
“I came up with the idea of the Stern Art Gallery when I realized that a lot of my friends in Stern are really talented artists,” said Adrienne Liu, 14’, who is the director of the project. “But so many of our friends and peers have no idea that their friends are fantastic painters, drawers, and photographers.”
Liu, with the help with Nick Wang, ’14, and Noah Sperber, ’14, have organized Stern’s first ever school-sponsored Art Gallery. The event will showcase pieces from Stern students of every grade, including at least one piece from every student who submitted their work to the team.
Stacy Chen, ‘17, a contributing artist, submitted several of her drawings, with themes varying from commentary on commercialism to existentialism.
“The reason why I applied is first and foremost because I have a passion for art,” said Chen. “But even more than that, I loved that I could represent Stern through my art — that’s something so different from what Stern students are known for.” This is exactly what the directors of the project are looking to accomplish.
“As Sternies, we have a certain perception in the eyes of other students at NYU. We see ourselves in a certain way as well. It might not be bad, but it’s certainly limiting. The Art Gallery allows us to break that mold,” said Wang.
Much like the mission of the Art Gallery, Stern students and faculty have recently made serious efforts to increase the diversity of the student body, both in terms of demographics and thought-processes. More and more, students have access to new fields and networking events beyond the typical financial offerings.
“There are a lot of times when I don’t feel like I belong here. Sometimes the culture here can be kind of constraining. I feel like this Art Gallery is a step in the right direction” said Chen.
An avid painter herself and president of NYU’s painting club, Pictura, director Liu also hopes that the gallery will push less-artistic Stern students to do something they may not think they are good at — a seemingly hard-fought win in a student body known for its quantitative acumen, and not necessarily for its creative capabilities.
“What I want the Art Gallery to achieve is the whole idea of stepping out of your comfort zone. In business school, you have to try so hard to learn finance and accounting, and you’re pushing your brain that way. With art, you can push your brain in another way — you can push it creatively,” said Liu.
Liu and her fellow directors have received a phenomenally positive response from across the NYU community. A student from NYU London asked to spotlight the Gallery on her blog; the NYU Art Department showed incredible enthusiasm for the event; students from every NYU school expressed excitement in attending the event.
“This type of response is so much more than what we imagined. But it’s exactly what we wanted in order to reach our goal. We wanted to make sure we were able to show that people in Stern are still creative — even if you might not have realized it before,” said Liu.