The revolution continues: Rowan Progressives advocate for Art & Music at annual showcase event

"Rowan Progressives wanted to introduce students and faculty members walking by to vendors as well, these are Rowan students who have found a creative outlet, that is for leisure or to aid in finances." - Staff Writer / Maryela Gallardo.

Music and art created by Rowan students have aided in shaping the culture of the university. With Westby Hall giving space for student artists to display their art and also rising clubs such as Rowan Hip Hop, giving a platform for student musicians, it is evident that arts and entertainment is here at Rowan. 

However, the Rowan Progressives organization believes that music and artistic expression should be valued a lot more by the university. On April 5, at Robinson Green, the club held their second annual showcase, The Revolution Will Be Amplified, where tabling went on from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and their live music from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event had musical performances from bands such as Triangulation, The Jettys, Det Card Sid, and Swansun. 

They also featured poems from the Poetic Justice organization at Rowan which strives to build a community with spoken word and poetry. Attendees were also treated with free food and games set up by the organizers. 

For Durwood Pinkett, the Rowan Progressives’ goal is to create an inclusive environment on campus for artists in marginalized communities on campus. 

“As far as running the progressives itself, that’s how I do a lot of the work there,” Pinkett said. “…So really what I care about is creating an atmosphere in which people and students at Rowan have the connections, the resources, and the knowledge to challenge, you know, campus authorities who are actively making life worse for students on campus.”

By showcasing groups such as Rowan Shades of Unified Love (SOUL), Rowan Prism, Rowan Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and more it gives attention to communities that students can join to feel accepted. Demonstrating the more artistic clubs, like Rowan Metals and independent Rowan artists, gives an outlet to express oneself visually or musically. 

The structure of the event was set up so all of Robinson Green’s corners had a stand or a table, allowing for anyone walking by to be surrounded by the artists, club executives, Rowan Progressive members, and Wilson Hall, bands were performing. 

The event was mostly organized by the Rowan Progressives’ event coordinator, Izzy Alexander who was inspired by how it was put together last year, and added a couple of different elements she thought would be more unique. 

“So The Revolution Will Be Amplified is really to combine art and activism. A lot of times art and music get cut from budgets and cut completely out of schools,” said Alexander. “…and having this kind of gives a platform for not only, like the members of our club to express themselves, but the students of Rowan.”

The decision to cut art education or musical programs is not uncommon here in New Jersey, in North Jersey elementary schools, cut art classes due to budget reasons, and a school in Warren County, they had cut their music and art classes in 2023. 

Students learn from early childhood how to use art, whether that is by painting, sculpting, coloring, and more. It’s what drives the initiative to be creative, which eventually leads to the decision of what they want to study in college. For the Rowan arts and music organizations, the interest in these topics is vital to keeping these clubs alive. Without these interests in early childhood, there would be no formation of new clubs on campus such as Poetic Justice or Women of Westby that have centered their mission on valuing the arts. 

Rowan Progressives wanted to introduce students and faculty members walking by to vendors as well, these are Rowan students who have found a creative outlet, that is for leisure or to aid in finances. 

Joseph Worosila, an artist had a table selling his art along with painters, and crafters as well, and being at this event allowed for them to get recognition, but also support their financial needs as well. Without the aid from the university to contribute to Rowan’s art and music clubs, the rise of these artists would not be as prominent as they are now. 

Ray Mills, a Rowan Progressives member, signed up to table at the event because Mills wanted people to see the jewelry, such as earrings, bracelets, and more. The student goes on to explain that the jewelry is wire-wrapped, which is formed into gems or crystals. The business run by Mills also has its theme. 

Mills also hopes for Rowan to give more representation, as it allows for artistic students to find spaces where they can express themselves. 

“People need more representation, especially about their artistic abilities and the art they do,” Mills said. “We need more opportunities to do more stuff like this, like showcasing their art.” 

The Rowan Progressives is hoping to continue this event annually to amplify the voices of art and music students on campus. 

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