Sunday, August 7, 2022

PAVA builds community through art

Paint brushes swirl in the thick acrylic paints, while fingers run across the wet clay and creamy colored pencils drag against the canvas filling the halls of Myers. But in room 240, every Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., the Plattsburgh Association of Visual Arts club does its own thing.

President of the Arts for the Student Association and former president of PAVA, Erin Doescher, has been a member of PAVA since her freshman year. When she first joined, she was nervous at first but really bonded with the upperclassmen.

She eventually worked her way up to becoming president but, when she was offered the SA position, she had to let go of the PAVA position. 

PAVA is not exclusively for art students. Doescher explained the club actually focuses on projects and exercises that can be beneficial for any major. Recently, they’ve done business card making and website design among other things. 

Since the club is open to anyone, Doescher said non-art majors add unique insight.

“When we do critiques they give a cool and different perspective than what we see because [as art majors] we are trained to see certain things,” Doescher said.

Current Vice President of PAVA Liam Morton got involved his sophomore year.

During a typical meeting, the club and its members start with a small little informational session, a workshop that can be as short or as long as the club desires, and then a small discussion.

Besides the actual meetings, PAVA does a lot for the Plattsburgh State community.

Doescher said that they help out at art auctions and community events. 

As for what the club does in general, besides your typical workshop, it has Powerline, the club’s very own art show in Myers that students can submit their work to. 

It also hosts “Pavatluck” which is a mini critique that members bring food to share, take museum trips in the fall and spring, collage, make cards and carve pumpkins during the holiday season, paint canvases, make books, etc.

The club even does community service by volunteering at a local sculpture park. 

PAVA is currently working on a mural that will be in the college store that Doescher hopes will be out around spring break.

Something else that PAVA takes pride in is collaborating with other clubs. Morton and Doescher both elaborated on it. There most recent one is with the film and video club.

“PAVA would work on a logo for them and they’re going to film an advertisement video for our department and what we do,” Doescher said.

Doescher and Morton both hope to work with more clubs. Doescher feels that both PAVA and the clubs they collaborate with learn and benefit from each other.

“I think a lot of other clubs or even those in Greek life would benefit from doing art workshops with us and we can benefit from learning this from them,” Doescher said.

AVA President and junior art major concentrating in sculpture and drawing Erika Synder was elected this year when Doescher took on the SA position. 

Synder was previously the vice president so taking the President role was a natural transition. 

“I have been involved with PAVA since I was a freshman,” Synder said. “I was timid at first, but the atmosphere was so friendly and inviting.”

Now as PAVA President, Synder has tasks such as making sure each officer on the board does their delegated job as well as completing forms and errands. 

Even with the more serious work, Synder said she creates a fun and open environment for members and community that she holds dear.

“My favorite part of PAVA is the community,” Synder said. “The members we have in our club are diverse in majors, years, and backgrounds.”

Like Doescher, Synder agreed that they are beneficial to the club and the critiques that happen during club meetings.

Synder wants students to know that PAVA is a place where anyone can come in and make art while being surrounded by people that share art as a common interest. 

PAVA is thankful for of its members and their dedication to it.

“When someone hears ‘Art Club’, someone may think ‘I have to be good at art to join,’” Synder said. “Which is certainly not the case.”

Email Jacqueline Hinchcliffe at

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