Arts Everywhere is proud to recognize and celebrate the work done by our new student branch, Freestyle, a ‘by the students, for the students’ digital media initiative launched to explore, engage, and celebrate creativity on campus. We spoke to the Freestyle team to get to know the students behind the project. Check out the story below to learn about their reflections on their mission, how the platform unfolded, and what’s to come in the future.
In a nutshell, Freestyle is an online collaborative that builds a community around student creatives at UNC. “We celebrate what students are doing and share their tips for how to stay on your best game, creatively, mentally, even physically.” Health is a very important component to the work they do because “caring for our health gives us strength, energy, confidence and creativity.”
The idea for this platform was born after the start of the pandemic. They wanted to create a place to highlight the diverse community of student arts organizations and artists at UNC in an effort to encourage healthy behaviors and combat the increasing sense of isolation caused by the pandemic.
And for the Freestyle team, there’s no one way or formula to achieve those goals. “We’re an open collaborative – meaning that every artist can freely speak to whatever they want, and that any artist can participate.”
So far, the most rewarding part of being part of Freestyle has been “connecting even one person to a community that they want to be a part of – we’ve seen people added to the Student Hip Hop GroupMe, ask us more about a class they want to take, or even join a student club through us.”
As the platform continues to expand, they plan to continue featuring students throughout the summer and documenting the artistic explosion that they anticipate will happen as COVID restrictions begin to lift.
A final piece of advice to the creatives out there? “Don’t make art with the mentality that you’ll eventually share it online. Make it for yourself.”
A few of Freestyle’s featured artists
Follow Freestyle on Instagram to learn more see their full artist features.
Meet the team
Member Q&A: Who is your favorite artist and what was your favorite art moment from 2020?
Ryan Combs, Outreach/ Copywriter
- I’d say favorite artist is Basquiat
- My favorite art moment would be Soul from Pixar, Charlotte BLM mural, or the Mandalorian as a beautiful continuity of Star Wars
Taylor Moreno, Graphic Design
- An artist I’ve kinda been following lately is Bradley Jack (graphic designer) his sports graphics are unreal and definitely has a style that I vibe with.
- And then a favorite art moment I would say we’re all the memorials that were painted across the work for Kobe Bryant, especially the full court murals!
Mandy Pitz, Freestyle Co-director
- An artist who has been on the brain recently is Brandon Stanton (photographer, humans of new york project)
- and an art moment of 2020 was Circles by mac miller being released
Carolina Ramirez, Social Media, Graduating May 2023
- Favorite Artist: María Berrío and Damien Hirst (artists) and Erykah Badu (music)
- Favorite Art Moment: The Krome Drawings by Jose Alvarez exhibit on display at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, FL; the most influential art exhibit I have ever attended, showcased a series of 30 sketches done by Alvarez while detained at the Krome Detention Center for two months. He gives his fellow detainees a chance to share their stories as he sketches them before they are deported. Many of these individuals are not heard from again and head back to very difficult home situations.
Rachel Ruth, Social Media, Graduating May 2022
- Favorite artist: Michelangelo (art) and Quinn XCII (music)
- Favorite art moment: the BLM mural on 16th street in Washington, D.C. (June 5, 2020)