A man walks toward Burk Hall, stops, and sits on a nearby bench. He’s carrying a ukulele and strums it softly as students make their way to class.
A passing student notices the ukulele and sits next to the musician. Words are exchanged and it becomes apparent that the man is teaching the other about the ukulele.
This kind of event is not uncommon at SF State.
“Throw a rock into a group of people and you’re bound to hit at least one artist of some sort,” said SF State student Monserrat Ibarra, junior. “We’re the closest thing to an art school without actually being one.”
With the creative community at SF State being vibrant and lively with performers and artists found everywhere from The Depot to an on-campus art show, it was only a matter of time before an organization dedicated to bringing artists under one umbrella was formed.
The Student Production Association, an up-and-coming collective dedicated to helping artists find a place to present their talents, hopes to be that umbrella, according to SF State student and co-founder Nestor Romero.
The SPA was first formed in the ending months of the spring 2011 semester. At the time, they were not officially recognized by the University but since then have moved on to throwing campus events including concerts during Welcome Days.
Co-founders Romero and SF State senior Ariel Morales, 22, want the SPA to create a larger sense of artistic community at SF State.
“We wanted to form an organization that could energize the student life,” Romero said. “There are a lot of organizations that don’t have a complete understanding of the resources they have. We decided to get together and help them.”
Resources SPA hope to shed light on include venues, promotional help and just about anything else that goes with throwing an event, according to Morales. They ask for artists to bring in their work to help create events that will bring exposure to local talent. Mainly, they want to become the one stop for artists wishing to book events.
Romero said the group also wishes to bring more student involvement to events on campus.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, be it graphic design, web design, advertising or video media,” Romero said. “We need people to make an event happen and I think it would be pretty neat to have if someone were come up and say ‘I went to a cool art/rock concert’ and have the them respond ‘Well yeah, I designed the flier for that, yeah I set up the lights for that, or yeah I did the sound system’.”
Expansion to the organization is key, and they invite artists of all kinds to speak up and join them, even if they have no prior experience in the field, according to Morales.
“We’re looking for everything: graphic designers, light technicians, event management, sounds people, everything,” Romero said. “Even if you don’t exactly know, say, lighting, we can teach you. In something like live entertainment there is a place for everybody.”
Future events will be similar to those they have put together in the past, such as the free funk and hip hop concert they did in March. The concert included acts such as From The Hip, Lemme Adams and Dirty Boots.
“The idea came along a couple months ago. We did a concert in Knuth Hall in the College of Creative Arts,” Morales said. “It was important because it brought the six of us together and it showed us, hey, we can do something really amazing together if given the opportunity.”
The group also hopes to bring smaller concerts and events such as themed movie nights with pre-screening mixers.
“As a theater major, I think that the more accessible the arts are, the better,” said SF State junior Charlotte Speck. “This program seems like it will open up a lot of doors that are currently closed. I’m excited.”
Though the group is in the early stages, they plan to have meetings as soon as possible. The easiest way to contact them is by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.