University launches Scriblerus Collective, only campus art club

Katie Cassavell

Scriblerus Collective, a new art club on campus this semester, has attracted nearly 200 new members, creating a sense of community among artistically interested students.

Villanova graduate student and president of the club, Ben Raymond, developed Scriblerus Collective with four other members and received University approval over the summer.

The Collective grew to 180 members in two months. 

The founders expected about 50 to 60 students to show interest. 

However, they found such high student involvement to be encouraging, considering there was little to no advertising.

“That means to us that we have struck a chord here and that there really is a need,” Raymond said.

Raymond said the idea for the club was four years in the making. After spending time as an undergraduate at Villanova he realized that there was not a place for those who identify themselves intellectually and socially with art.

“The liberal arts college thinks that this collective can sort of redefine the liberal arts among its students,” Raymond said. “The nursing school has a school; the business school has a school. They have a culture, and that’s wonderful. We are trying to make that culture, and the liberal arts school has been extremely supportive of us doing that.”

Scriblerus Collective attracts a wide variety of members, from freshmen to graduate students. Additionally, according to Raymond, about 75 percent of the members are in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences while the remaining portion comes from other schools such as VSB or the College of Nursing. 

“[Our members include] not necessarily brilliant artists but any student who is artistically engaged or interested,” Raymond said. 

Students from Bryn Mawr College have also attended some events. Bryn Mawr College recently created its own chapter of the collective.

“I really like how it brings people that normally would not meet together,” said Kathleen Pierce, junior art history and French major and co-founder of the collective.

The Collective focuses mostly on visual arts but also on other areas such as poetry, writing and theater. 

“We are very focused on what our members want to do and not just what we want to do,” Pierce said.

Group events include trips to art museums around Philadelphia, apple picking and group potlucks. 

Scriblerus Collective’s big event of the year is its Villanova Student Arts Festival, which it plans to have one day this April in the Jake Nevin Field House. 

It will include a combination of visual arts, music and social engagement. 

Pierce said that they want the festival to be an event on campus, not just an art show. 

They also want the festival to attract students from local colleges and universities such as St. Joe’s, Drexel, Haverford, UPenn and Swarthmore.

“We want Villanova students to demonstrate not only to other Villanova students or the Villanova administration, but to the entire Philadelphia area that Villanova can support the arts as well, if not better, than any school around,” Raymond said.

Scriblerus Collective has been working with an ACS learning community throughout the semester to develop a project for the festival in April. 

The event was just approved as an ACS cultural event for all ACS students.

“It is wonderful to see that in such a short time this little idea has turned into something big at Villanova,” Raymond said. “We are extraordinarily proud of our members, and we are getting to know so many more people, which is great.”