by: Mike Reistetter
Mount Saint Mary College’s Danangelowe “A.J” Spencer has just about done it all in his four years as a student here at the Mount. It doesn’t matter if it’s when he’s spearheading Mount Media’s camera crew, performing acts of service with the HEOP program or maintaining on-campus order as a Resident Assistant. If you’re an active member of the Mount Community, chances are you’ve worked with, or have come in contact with A.J at some point.
But what makes A.J, A.J? More importantly, what has the filmmaker / photographer not necessarily harbored, but kept concealed within his immediate creative circle, until realizing just how affectively he could reach the masses with it?
The simple answer is ART, which he’s promptly acronymized as “Art, Truth, and Reality.” But what exactly does this mean?
I sat down with my friend, colleague and collaborator A.J to find out more about his passion, which has brought forth an exciting new venture — one that originated as a senior project, but has since taken on a life of its own.
MR: What is the purpose of your art show?
AJ: With the A.R.T show, we aim to rejuvenate the appreciation and expression of the arts here at the Mount. We are striding to create a platform for student artists to collaborate and share their creative work without an expectation of judgement.
MR: How did your art show first come to be / Why did you decide to do it?
AJ: This idea came to me around two years ago when I was thinking about my senior film and what I would like to do (for it). I’ve always wanted to do a multifaceted project that involved multiple art forms, especially since I am so involved in all different types of art. So I decided to do an art show (smaller scale of the original idea), to accompany my senior thesis film.
I decided to do it for the same reason why I wanted to do my film; I felt like it was a necessity at the Mount. In a way, it’s almost overdue.
MR: What different types of artists, and their respective works, can show-goers expect to see at the exhibit?
AJ: In a nutshell, show-goers can expect to see: ART, REALITY and TRUTH.
There will be a wide variety, including performance arts (dancing, singing, rapping, poetry, etc.), but the emphasis will be placed on the pictorial arts, for it isn’t as prominent as the performance arts. These submissions include paintings, digital photography, drawings, sculptures and other mix-media.
MR: What does art mean to you personally?
AJ: Personally, art for me is, in this moment, to educate others and ultimately inspire change. I say in this moment because as an artist, sometimes the meaning and purpose of our art changes overtime.
MR: Do you feel art can change lives?
AJ: Yes art can change life. Simply put, if I wasn’t an artist I wouldn’t have been able to connect with so many people in order to put together this show. I was never a social butterfly but my art helped me to be a part of different circles, which lead to almost all of my creative, and even professional connection. All of which are in full effect for the fruition of the show.
MR: Do you feel this event will have the power to change lives?
AJ: Yes I believe the event can change someone’s life, I don’t know if it will. But more importantly, I think it can be the foundation of change at the Mount. It will spark several conversations, and I believe that if students, faculty and staff continue those conversations, then change will come. Only time will tell.
MR: What advice do you have to those who consider themselves artistic but are shy / hesitant to let others see their work?
AJ: First I would like to say that there is a whole segment in the film that is directed toward artists like this. So make sure you come to the film-screening portion of the show.
Like Professor Phillips says in the film, “art is all about RISK.”
The highly anticipated A.R.T show will take place on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Hudson auditorium, with the film portion screening at 7:15. For any other questions or concerns regarding the event or donation opportunities, feel free to e-mail A.J himself at firstname.lastname@example.org.