independent since 1891  
spacer spacer spacer
yalealumnimagazine.com   about the Yale Alumni Magazine   classified & display advertising   back issues 1992-present   our blogs   The Yale Classifieds   yam@yale.edu   support us


The Yale Alumni Magazine is owned and operated by Yale Alumni Publications, Inc., a nonprofit corporation independent of Yale University.

The content of the magazine and its website is the responsibility of the editors and does not necessarily reflect the views of Yale or its officers.


Comment on this article

College Comment
Don’t Freak Out—It’s Art Night!

It doesn’t take an applied mathematics major to figure out that Yale is a stressful place. While some students boost their lagging confidence by mocking contestants on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” others seek relief by attending the decidedly unstressful meetings of Art Night. Arming themselves with paint brushes and plaster, these undergraduates meet every Wednesday night in a student room to spend a few hours chatting, snacking, and creating art.

Art Night began on February 28, 1999, a day the event’s founders now refer to as “The Day Mell Freaked Out.” It was rainy. It was February. The walls of Mell Lind’s suite in Farnam were beginning to close upon her like a prison cell. And the problem sets and exams were coming down as fast and as hard as the driving rain outside.

Lind soon learned that what the promotional materials say is true: Yale is about the people. A few of her suitemates and other neighbors came over and helped her through her stress. They told her to toss aside her problem sets and start scribbling.

By last spring, the weekly study break had become an official undergraduate organization with Lind as president, and roughly a dozen people were showing up every Wednesday. The group has taken on projects ranging from “body art” (a big mess), to papier-mâché (another big mess) and sculpture.

While some participants have turned out masterful work, most people come to Art Night just to have fun. And most are more interested in working on communal projects than in showing off their talent by working on individual pieces. As one student, beer in hand, told me, “It’s more about process than outcome.”

Lind and her roommate and cofounder Emily Hyde make sure that everyone feels welcome at Art Night—and that they get to work. I wasn’t allowed to hide behind my reporter’s pad the night I came: They forced me to stop working and do some art. Task-driven person that I am, it took me a while to stop asking questions and enjoy the evening.

But the spirit of Art Night is inviting, and no one can come to Lind and Hyde’s room without falling prey to its charms. A student running for Yale College Council—and running on nervous energy rather than sleep—dropped by the night I was there. She worked intently, gripping her paintbrush tightly, her knuckles white with tension. Twenty minutes later, she left with a piece of art—and a calm smile.

Hyde and Lind are confident that Art Night helps prevent students from “freaking out” the way Lind did that winter night. They look forward to the fall, when they will welcome artists-for-the-night to their room on the first floor of Durfee every Wednesday. Although Lind, as the president of a University-funded organization, now has some official duties, Art Night promises to continue next year as stress-free as possible. Positioned at the heart of the Old Campus, they may even save a freshman or two.  the end


©1992–2012, Yale Alumni Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Yale Alumni Magazine, P.O. Box 1905, New Haven, CT 06509-1905, USA. yam@yale.edu