Magnified Societies: Vis Arts

Illustration: Caroline McKeon

Since 1966, Trinity’s Visual Arts Society, or VisArts, has been bringing students together to appreciate the wonders of the artistic world. Throughout its sixty years, the society has celebrated artistic culture, and is a hidden gem within the packed society scene in Trinity. It provides an outlet for students who may not be able to give much time to their creative side otherwise, given the bustling and busy lifestyle of a student. Though the society stemmed originally from an art appreciation group, VisArts has grown from its humble beginnings to become much more than that, offering its members between one and two society events weekly.

VisArts is keen to explore every aspect of the international visual arts scene. From modern art to Romantic sculptures with blockbuster movies in between, it seeks to cater to all who appreciate art and would like to meet likeminded people.

“With a huge range of events and a friendly demeanor that is contagious, VisArts is both welcoming and plenty of fun.”

Walking tours are a signature VisArts event. Members have traipsed through the National Gallery to enjoy Caravaggio paintings, and have admired Lucian Freud paintings in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The society also organises subcommittees to create installations for other society events, such as the Players “Fringe Festival” and “The Pav is Sinking”, an alternative night out hosted by the Environmental Society. Such collaborative events are a credit to VisArts, as they strive to branch out and ensure their members have access to a diverse range of events, with opportunities to work with other societies.

Speaking to Trinity News, Treasurer of VisArts, Sophie Mulcahy Symmons, said that the society “encourages people to be creative and do art.” Whether you can paint like Picasso or struggle to draw a stick-man, this society caters to all talents or lack thereof! VisArts have organised “random arts and crafts events” such as gingerbread house making and pumpkin carving, with a Fabergé egg event on the horizon also.

VisArts also runs a speaker series throughout the year, and have welcomed individuals such as Alice Maher, a leading Irish visual artist, and Maser, creator of the Dublin “Repeal the 8th” murals. A weekly event is the VisArts library coffee hours, where members can read and watch screenings such as the Marina Abramović documentary about the life of the renowned performance artist.

“For three days in March, the society showcases over forty pieces made by Trinity staff and students in Temple Bar.”

The peak event of the year is undoubtedly the End of Year Exhibition. When speaking to Trinity News, Mulcahy Symmons said that the exhibition “showcases the artistic talent within Trinity, which is hugely successful and diverse.” For three days in March, the society showcases over forty pieces made by Trinity staff and students in Temple Bar. From paintings to sculptures, the showcase is vibrant and diverse. This year’s showcase included a dolphin sculpture made of steel, a painted ukelele, and even a menstrual art piece. “Period Profit”, by the VisArts PRO, Ellen O’Sullivan, seeks to reinforce that women should not have to pay for menstrual commodities such as tampons, and stands as just one example of a piece at the exhibit with a strong underlying message. This is further indicative of the unique opportunity provided to students by this exhibition to showcase their work, and the level of thought gone into creating it.

Mulcahy Symmons continued by saying that the society is “not cliquey at all, but we are niche… it’s all really fun.” VisArts have a strong online presence on Facebook and Instagram. She feels that they are “underappreciated as a society”, with double the amount of members this year than last year. An emphasis is also put on openness in the society, and they always welcome new members. They certainly had stellar Freshers’ spray-painted tote bags this year, which included year diaries and Paperblanks notebooks.

This society stands out as as one to watch in coming years. With a huge range of events and a friendly demeanor that is contagious, VisArts is both welcoming and plenty of fun. Whether you are an art fanatic, or simply enjoy a sip of wine and some finger-painting, VisArts is bound to appease your artistic needs.

If you are interested in getting more involved with VisArts, their AGM takes place on March 30 between 5-8pm. Find the event page here.

Seana Davis

Seana Davis is a fourth year Geology student and News Editor of Trinity News.