New Student Group, Tartan Art, Brings Visibility to Student Artists

School of Art Sophomore Se A Kim saw how hard her classmates were working, but noticed that very few people outside the School were seeing students’ artwork. Filled with excitement at the beginning of the school year, she started an Instagram account, called Tartan Art, with the aim to amplify student artist voices on campus.

Posts on Instagram feature Kim’s classmates in a distinct visual format. Each post contains a portrait of the artist, images of their work, and a quote elaborating on an aspect of their practice.

“I wanted to share the story behind what inspired the artist to make the artwork or any life events that are happening that are reflected on a particular art piece,” said Kim.

Hearing the positive feedback from the School’s community, Kim decided to recruit fellow students and formalize the group. Though Instagram remains central to the group, they have since launched a website and branched out into more editorial content.

“We want undergraduate artist voices to be heard talking about issues that are important to contemporary art,” explains Izzy Stephen (BHA 2020), a member of Tartan Art.

Peter Sheehan (BFA 2020), another Tartan Art member, adds, “We see this as an important outlet for concerns about what we do as artists and about our experience here.”

Editorials range from hot-button political issues like net neutrality and the Me Too movement to issues of artist support like crowdfunding and unconventional residencies to more humorous pieces like how art school might make you pretentious. The group also covers School of Art events, such as exhibitions at the Frame Gallery or at Powder Room.

Tartan Art strengthens student ties within the School of Art as upperclassmen learn about underclassmen work and vice versa. The group has also already attracted followers outside the university. According to Kim, a gallery who saw a student’s work on the Tartan Arts’ Instagram profile reached out to inquire about including that student’s work in an upcoming exhibition.

As the group grows, Stephen explains that they’re hoping that being featured on Tartan Art could help students make connections that are helpful to their careers. “We’re interested in getting more connections with arts professionals and alumni who can help you show your work,” she explains.

The group also hopes that Tartan Art content will be something readers, both those in the School of Art and those in the broader community, look forward to each week, especially as artists change and grow.

“Eventually, we would like Tartan Art to be a place where you could see the progress of each artist, as they grow year by year,” says Kim, “to see how their art is transformed and molded.”

Follow Tartan Art on Instagram and Facebook and check out tartanart.org.