Arts editors and tour guides talk about their nontraditional connection to the arts on campus

Arts Editors Jack Clohisy and RaiAnn Bu are pictured. Courtesy RaiAnn Bu

Art comes in many forms, and it permeates all facets of life. No matter how removed from artistic practice some people may be, it’s undeniable the impact that art has on everyone. Two editors of the Daily dive into their own experiences with the arts and how they came to join a greater community of Tufts students who appreciate and celebrate art in all its forms.

RaiAnn:

Jack and I had crossed paths for about two years before we formally met at our summer tour guiding job. I now know Jack wants to have a family large enough to fill a basketball court. When we met, however, he was the one who inspired me to begin writing for The Tufts Daily in the first place. We were both athletes, both STEM majors and on paper what I thought were the farthest things from the ‘artsy’ kids.

During high school, I had little interaction with the arts. There has always been a dichotomy in my mind that puts arts and academics on two opposite sides of the spectrum. If I chose to be more involved in arts, it would be less ‘prestigious’ than a dedication to science or math. As a result, I did minimal work for music class in high school and made my interest in movies, drawing and fashion a hobby instead. When I came to college, I was excited to suddenly have such a wide range of academic freedom. My first semester, I took an art class as part of the arts requirement. 

Like with my interest in art, I had never had any interest in writing for a school newspaper. Before college, I had always been more STEM oriented in my extracurricular activities, trying to fulfill an image of what I thought were ‘smart’ activities (I actually don’t even like science now). Additionally, two of my friends were editors of the high school newspaper, and hearing about the stress of meeting monthly deadlines was enough stress for me. So if you had told me in high school that I would enjoy writing for the newspaper so much that I wrote an article every week, I would tell you that you visited the wrong dimension. But it has been so freeing to finally explore an interest I suppressed for so long. 

What’s so beautiful about Tufts and college in general is the space to grow, discover your own interests and have your ideas challenged and changed. Since I’ve been at Tufts, my worldview has changed to consider shades of gray where I previously saw black and white. For example, math, which had previously been my worst enemy, turned out to be the class I looked forward to the most (embarrassing, I know)

I think college is a time where you learn to be your own human, separate from your parents, friends and any expectations. Tufts gives you that space and resources to explore your previously held beliefs about yourself and others. It gives you a place where you can dumpster-fire-style fail but still be safe.

Jack:

When I first met Rai, we immediately connected over the shared interests we had. She, a lover of Minecraft, and I, a lover of Minecraft YouTube videos, were destined to unite. It was when Rai shared her playlist with me that I realized we were going to be friends. Chock-full of Phoebe Bridgers, Lorde, Mitski and the likes, we had an instant overlap in music taste. Rai also became one of my closest friends within the first few months of our friendship when I could rely upon her for support in my personal life, and I am so grateful for her.

When I was younger, because I considered myself ‘good at math,’ I didn’t think I could inherently be an artistic person. It wouldn’t be until my high school years that I discovered that art comes in more forms than visual arts. I fell in love with the artistic craft of authors in American literature such as “The Scarlet Letter” (1850) and “The Catcher in the Rye” (1951), but what really struck me was music. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that for a presentation on evolving freedoms in American culture, I juxtaposed the works of Emily Dickinson’s poetry with Rihanna’s “Sex with Me” (2016).

I had a knack for staying up late when my favorite artists would release albums and would spend the next week with their projects on repeat. I loved the idea of album concepts and how tracks could form a story, much like literature. When I was 14 years old, I sat down and listened to the entirety of Lana Del Rey’s “Honeymoon” (2015) one Friday in ninth grade to absorb myself in the craft of my favorite artist. It would become common for me to do this, and now I see new album listen-throughs as my favorite pastime.

When I stepped foot on Tufts’ campus, I had no idea where my path would take me. I came in intent on majoring in clinical psychology but quickly pivoted paths toward computer science and cognitive and brain science with a brief stint considering an English major. I began college on the track team, but as the years progressed, I found myself enjoying my time focused on other interests, such as The Tufts Daily. My first article was an opinion piece on racism in the music industry, specifically centered on Beyoncé’s 2016 Grammy snub. From there, I began to write more frequently and wanted to delve into the intricacies of the art world that my other Tufts peers were writing about.

I’m so glad to have been able to embark on this new journey in the art world where I can lay out my appreciation for pieces that move others and me and hopefully inspire those who consider themselves ‘less artistic’ to find a medium that speaks to them.


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