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Since 1925
The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

Does John Carroll have enough performing arts clubs?

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Alissa Van Dress
The stage in the Marinello Little Theatre is currently set up for the Theatre Club’s upcoming performance.

Out of the 112 clubs and organizations on John Carroll’s campus, only eight involve the performing arts. These clubs encompass various creative mediums, such as acting, performing and painting, and are strongly supported and cherished by the John Carroll community. The eight clubs are as follows: 

Creative Arts Club (@creativearts_jcu) – Debuting in fall 2023, this club provides various opportunities for painting and crafting with friends at all of their events. The group meets and welcomes everyone to join them and make art while also destressing. 

Dance Ensemble (@jcu_dance_ensemble) – The ensemble meets every Tuesday night in the fitness center to give students a creative outlet to dance and meet new people if they have previous dance experience. The group also performs at some on-campus events to showcase their talents. 

Improv Club (@improvjcu) – This team practices throughout the week and has improv performances on certain Friday nights to allow their members to get on stage and show off their improvisation skills. Recently, the club went to Fan Expo Cleveland to perform together in front of new audiences. 

Pep Band (@jcupepband) – The band plays marching band music in the stands at home football games throughout the season. It is a perfect way to hone your musical abilities while cheering on the John Carroll football team.

Just Dance Club (@jcujustdance) – This club invites everyone to play “Just Dance” with each other while enjoying other goodies. At their last event, they gave away Fenty Beauty products to students who joined in the fun.

Rhapsody Blue (@rhapsodybluejcu) – This all-male acapella group sings at various on-campus events, such as the annual lighting of the quad, and works on their acapella singing skills as a group during practices. 

The Sweet Carrollines (@sweetcarrollines) – The all-female acapella group hones in on their members’ talents while practicing, then sings at many different events, including Tower Times in the winter, to showcase their wonderful vocals together. 

Theatre Club @ JCU (@theatreclubjcu) – This club performs in Marinello Little Theatre and gives members a chance to enhance both their acting and technical skills. Their last performance was a showcase that gave all of the members an opportunity to get out on stage and show off their favorite theatrical skills. 

Although these are all wonderful clubs that give students a chance to express themselves in the arts, there should be more on campus. There is an abundance of other clubs at the university, and when searching for these student organizations, there is not even a category for arts clubs on the official website that lists every organization. Unsurprisingly, there are categories naming more popular options, such as club sports and academic clubs, but arts are listed under the “social” category. 

For students who love the arts, it can be difficult to have a small number of clubs to choose from when wanting to get involved in the arts on campus.

The Carroll News met with two graduate assistants in the Office of Student Engagement, Nick Novak and Jasmine McCallum, to discuss the lack of performing arts clubs. Novak and McCallum agreed that COVID-19 affected a lot of involvement in the arts. However, both had different takes on why it still isn’t as prevalent:

Novak noted that “organizations are just incorporating performing arts into their mission and what they’re doing to promote events” rather than creating new clubs. He explained that events like the recent drag show in Marinello Little Theatre and cultural organizations are doing “beauty events, and learning how to do that makeup, there’s kind of a performing aspect to that because you’re using it to represent your culture.”

McCallum also explained that “performing arts are seen as a hobby that people ‘don’t have time for’ because they don’t make time for it” and in turn academic outlets are prioritized. 

Both assured that there is high interest in the arts, but due to these reasons and others, there is still a lack of organizations that are solely meant for the performing arts.

Senior Director of Student Engagement, Kyle O’Dell, PhD., also supports performing arts clubs at JCU and assures “Student Engagement will continue to look for ways to support students who want to create additional arts-related organizations.”

The Carroll News asked students what student organizations they would like to add to the club roster for the arts:

Salem Burris ‘27 believes John Carroll “would benefit from some kind of ceramics or pottery club as it’s such a fun medium of art to work with and it’s very hands-on and quite easy to learn.”

Lydia Bennett ‘26 wants a cinema club at JCU because she is “interested in cinema and acting!”

Abbey Baron ‘27 thinks “clubs that teach creative skills…like sewing and cooking” are “helpful for being an adult and being independent…Also, since [John Carroll] doesn’t have a graphic design major…a graphic arts club would be great for business and communication majors!”

These students are passionate about the arts and want new chances to show their appreciation and skill for different artful expressions. There is a lot of room at John Carroll for student organizations that encompass the creative and performing arts as long as students are willing to create new clubs that interest them and others. Right now, JCU lacks certain opportunities for students who enjoy the performing and creative arts, but hopefully in the near future that will change.

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About the Contributors
Anna Maxwell
Anna Maxwell, Arts and Life Editor
Anna Maxwell is the Arts and Life Editor for the Carroll News from Ashtabula, Ohio. She is a Freshman at John Carroll University who is an Undecided major. Anna has been writing for the Carroll News since the fall of 2023! In addition to writing for the Carroll News, she is also an Honors student here at John Carroll, and she is excited to continue writing in the years to come! When not writing, Anna can be found reading a new book, or binge-watching her favorite Netflix shows! She can also be found spending time with her friends and participating in events around campus! In the future, Anna aspires to become a writer of fiction novels, and also an editor for a well-known publishing company! To contact Anna, email her at [email protected].
Alissa Van Dress
Alissa Van Dress, Campus Editor
Alissa Van Dress is a junior English major from Amherst, Ohio. She has a concentration in professional writing with minors in business, creative writing and Spanish and Hispanic Studies. Previously, Alissa served as the copy editor at The Carroll News. In addition to her current role as campus editor, Alissa is a JCU football and basketball cheerleader, a writing consultant at the JCU Writing Center, works as a digital engagement ambassador for the JCU Carroll Fund, and serves on the visual arts committee for The Carroll Review. Also, she is honored to have co-founded the Theatre Club at John Carroll University. Other than writing, some of Alissa's favorite hobbies include musical theater, vocal performance, fashion, dance and cheerleading/acrobatics. After graduation, Alissa plans to write for children's entertainment.

To contact Alissa, email her at [email protected].

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