Finding Community in Creativity – The Quinnipiac Chronicle

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August Bishop, a first-year English major, shared two poems at the Montage Open Mic party on November 3. (Healy wool)

After spending more than a year alone during the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Quinnipiac University are eager to bond on campus.

The Montage Literary and Arts Journal hosted an open mic night at the Carl Hansen Student Center on November 3, extending
a warm invitation to the creative community of Quinnipiac for a chance to connect socially and emotionally with its members.

Dim lights and a background of cherry blossoms allow club members to share their artistic work ranging from original oral poetry to musical covers in an intimate setting.

“Open mic parties really give everyone the opportunity to share their voices,” said Tamara Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Montage.

Isabella Torres, a first-year commerce major, simultaneously kicked off the evening and made her montage debut with a Literacy Story, an introspective piece depicting her experiences as a writer. She quickly connected with the public through her struggle with academic validation and classroom anxiety, a common experience for students, with 87% citing education as their main source of stress, according to American Psychological Association.

Torres thanked Montage for the opportunity to use writing as a therapeutic tool to sift through his emotions.

“I realize more and more of myself literally throughout the test,” Torres said.

Torres wasn’t the only student to debut. English first-year major August Bishop’s first Montage show featured two heartbreaking poems about romantic relationships and their lasting impact. She explained the role of writing on people who understand their own emotional states, saying it made her question her perspective on life.

“Seeing the good in the bad and being able to make something beautiful out of it is really cool,” Bishop said.

The second half of the performance featured an excerpt from “Ineffable”, an independent project created by Haktan Ceylan, a double major in philosophy and political science. “Ineffable” is a mix of unconventional poetry, graphics and music organized under the Ceylon pseudonym, Natkah Nalyec.

Ceylon announced the project in August 2021, but has been brewing for over two years. Largely inspired by his transition from childhood to college, he addresses family issues, love and grief.

Writing at a pivotal time in his life, Ceylon said “Ineffable” helped him overcome his personal challenges.

“I think there has been some release with art, and I’m still grateful for what it may have done for me then in terms of mental health,” Ceylon said.

While each piece carries private undertones, he’s excited to see how audiences relate to his work and embody it as theirs when the final project releases on December 24.

“The beauty of ‘Ineffable’ is that there is something for everyone,” Ceylon said. “It’s not my project anymore, it’s yours.”

Audience inclusion was a major part of his performance, as it often called for interaction, like waving hands to the beat of the music and using flashlights to set the mood.

After the success of its first in-person event since the pandemic, Montage plans to continue to spur creativity
with monthly open pickups in the future. Anderson hopes they will increase their involvement with the club.

Montage has been on campus for 40 years, widely recognized for its open mics. They were previously hosted by Ken Cormier, Montage’s educational advisor, until he handed over to student leaders six years ago. He is pleased with the effort and participation of club members at the open mic.

“I’m really happy to see that the students care enough to take it on their own for a few years now and continue to support it,” Cormier said.

Although primarily focused on writing, students of all majors and talents can participate in Montage. The club involves plenty of opportunities for music, painting, sculpture, photography, and graphic design.

“It’s not just about our members or the people who are interested in editing, but also anyone who has artistic abilities, who has something that they want to share with the community,” Anderson said.

Cormier encouraged students to participate in upcoming open mic opportunities or contribute to the Montage journal published each spring, which promotes talent across campus.

“Any college experience really deserves and requires some sort of artistic element, and Montage is one of those places where students can find a creative community,” Cormier said.


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