The Story of You: Guest Post by Jasmin Noble

Friday, March 30th was an exciting night for the USF College of The Arts. The Contemporary Art Museum had its opening reception for their MFA show: Buried Alone. Annually, CAM features USF’s graduating MFA candidates in an exciting showcase. The graduates’ work is vibrant and novel, making it one of CAM’s most anticipated exhibitions. Alongside the MFA showcase, Art Walk and ArtHouse were in full swing.

Art Walk is an event sponsored by USF’s Centre Gallery. Each year, students, USF organizations, members of the local community, and individuals gather to display their love of art through various installations, performance art, music, and everything in between. The walk begins at the Centre Gallery and ends at the School of Art & Art History, which hosts ArtHouse. Complimentary to Art Walk, ArtHouse displays current student work and opens the studios for public view. The walk was packed with many students and residents of the Bay Area experiencing the unique booths and installations present.

CAM Club had its own booth nestled in between the Contemporary Art Museum and the main Art Walk path, a path traversed by many eager to see the opening of the MFA show. Our main mission was to be a hub for all things CAM. We wanted to spread the word about our growing club and recruit a batch of new members. We also had a creative project as part of our booth. The purpose of our project, The Story of You was to record the stories of those that stopped by our booth. We had a list of questions to get our guests talking, but if they chose to deviate from the questions or speak on a different topic they were free to do so. Whatever people wanted to tell us, we were open to hear. Because of the personal nature of our project, most were hesitant to participate, however we did succeed in getting the stories of two brave souls.

Interviewing a stranger is quite an intimate experience. The sounds of passers-by quiet and for a small moment it’s only you and your guest talking, and you listen completely. We went over a variety of questions from “What’s your culture and how does it influence your everyday life?” to “If your younger self was here what would they think of your life?” It was truly fascinating to listen to people reflect on their lives and what resides in their core that makes them, them. Interestingly, our interviewees offered the same advice when asked, “What would you say if you had the world as an audience?” Neither were at the booth at the same time, in fact their interviews were almost two hours apart, yet they both said, “Don’t take anything too seriously.” Whilst our second interviewee says he works hard to better his life, at the end of the day he remembers not to stress over the smaller things. He believes it’s a balance of knowing when to be diligent and when to unwind. Our first interviewee has a different approach. As an artist, he likes to have freedom in both his life and work. He explained his answer by saying we only have one life, and if we allow ourselves to be too hyper-aware and too serious, we would not be free to enjoy all that life offers.

These interviews permitted us to briefly view the world through someone else’s eyes, and allowed us to glimpse the qualities that not only make us unique but also connect us. Though we only gathered a small number of interviews at Art Walk, CAM Club intends to collect more stories to share with the USF community.

Jasmin Noble
BA Undergraduate, English
College of Arts and Sciences
University of South Florida

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