Taking A Break With Artsbreak

Students get their hands sticky
Jennifer Dai, Vivian Lam and Lola Liu move fast to find the craft supplies they need at last Tuesdays Artsbreak in the Michigan Union.

Jennifer Dai, Vivian Lam and Lola Liu move fast to find the craft supplies they need at last Tuesday's Artsbreak in the Michigan Union.

If nothing else, the bright yellow paper covering two long tables in the Michigan Union ground floor – the union’s lower level food court, known as the MUG – would have tipped you off that something was going on last Tuesday night. Another clue: two smaller tables crammed with bottles of glitter, colored markers, spools of ribbon, boxes of rubber stamps, and sheefs of stickers and colored paper.

For the past few years, Tuesday nights at the MUG have been alive with arts and crafts provided by Artsbreak. Together with Friday night UMix, another event intended to bring students together, Artsbreak provides a chance for students to escape the stressful life of a University of Michigan undergrad and have a little fun. Whether it’s making Hershey kiss roses for Valentine’s Day or picture frames out of wires, every Tuesday you’re guaranteed to see at least a few people getting their hands dirty – or sticky with glue.

Because Artsbreak is a University Unions Arts and Programs event, UUAP supplies the funding for the arts and crafts supplies used at these gatherings. That means it’s free for all participants. Usually, Artsbreak draws about 50 people between 8-11 p.m., according to Jennifer Nimtz, program assistant. 

Due to bad weather (it was raining steadily throughout the evening), turnout last Tuesday was low. When The Chronicle dropped by, only one crafter was there – Charlotte Campbell, an Artsbreak first-timer, was making some small scrapbooks. A little while later, three regulars showed up: Undergraduates Jennifer Dai, Vivian Lam and Lola Liu said they come just about every week. Otherwise, the tables set aside for Artsbreak were pretty bare, aside from their yellow coverings.

Jennifer Nimtz, program assistant for Artsbreak.

Jennifer Nimtz, program assistant for Artsbreak.

Nimtz wasn’t bothered by the low turnout. It’s important to be there, regardless of who shows up. “It is just a break for Michigan students,” she said. “The great thing about arts and crafts is that it is not just for one group of people… it appeals to everyone.”

The other students studying at the MUG room did seem curious about what was going on at Artsbreak. Though only a few people actually made their way over to construct the paper bag scrapbooks – a project meant to honor Earth Day on April 22 – the activities had a least caught everyone’s eye.

Editor’s note: Megan Eve Ryan is a University of Michigan student and an intern with The Ann Arbor Chronicle.