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The University of Alabama

Find Your Passion: Stirring a Need for Art

By Katie Sanders

Junior Ally Mabry provides an outlet for students to buy, sell and show their art work (Jeff Hanson).

Junior Ally Mabry provides an outlet for students to buy, sell and show their art work (Jeff Hanson).

University of Alabama students knew people were passionate about art – at affordable prices. And students wanted to sell their art. So the Creative Co-op took form under the direction of Ally Mabry, a UA junior, and other officers.

Mabry says the organization was the result of an idea pitch to UA’s Creative Campus where Mabry was interning. It became an official organization at UA earlier this year with 35 members.

“Creative Co-op has provided UA with more opportunities to buy art and appreciate artists even in the first five months of its life,” Mabry says.

Mabry has been involved with bringing the creative arts to the Capstone through Creative Campus and her individual project, Senses of Creativity. Mabry planned the show during her sophomore year in conjunction with her Creative Campus internship.

The show focused on a new way to experience art through a combination of the senses. Featured works included a cinnamon-scented painting and panoramic photographs combined with music. The success of this show encouraged Mabry to continue working with Creative Campus and eventually start Creative Co-op.

Creative Co-Op’s first major show opened with 75 guests (Jeff Hanson).

Creative Co-Op’s first major show opened with 75 guests (Jeff Hanson).

Senior Charlie Bice, secretary of Creative Co-op, says he has worked with Mabry at Creative Campus and joined her on her mission to start Creative Co-op.

“She saw a need and met it,” Bice says. “I was incredibly inspired by her practicality and clarity of her mission. She needed help with the immense amount of work that it would take.”

Bice said the Creative Co-op’s mission is threefold: to provide students with low-cost quality student art, to help students market and sell their work and provide student artists with a support system during their years at UA.

Creative Co-op showcases traditional and nontraditional work. The first major show opened in February at the New College Gallery with 75 guests. Mabry says her accomplishments at UA can be credited to the Creative Campus, where she’s developed communication, marketing and collaboration skills.

Mabry says her Creative Campus family “inspire me daily” (Jeff Hanson).

Mabry says her Creative Campus family “inspire me daily” (Jeff Hanson).

“My Creative Campus family has done nothing short of inspire me daily to be a strong, dedicated student and member of society,” Mabry says.

Dr. Hank Lazer is a faculty member who has worked closely with Mabry. As executive director of Creative Campus, Lazer has interacted with Mabry through her internship and creation of Creative Co-op.

“Ally has applied great energy, vision, and tenacity to turn the idea of Creative Co-op into a thriving actuality,” Lazer says. “Clearly, she has tapped into a strong interest on the part of students to be able to buy and sell and show their art work.”

For Mabry, Bice and the other members of Creative Co-op, art is a passion. Bice says art enriches the lives of others. Mabry says she hopes her efforts and projects help raise awareness and connections to art in the Tuscaloosa community.

“If Creative Co-op is still successfully running in two years, I’ll be the happiest person alive,” Mabry says. “When I leave this University and Creative Co-op behind, I want to know that I helped begin a stirring in the community – a need for art.”

Creative Campus is dedicated to building a collaborative environment where students can connect with each other, faculty and their community in turning innovative ideas into action. Each year, the program accepts a number of interns who work on projects promoting the arts and creativity.

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Katie Sanders is scheduled to graduate from The University of Alabama in December with a degree in public relations. She is from Greenville, S.C., and she served as a practicum writer for the UA Office of Media Relations.

This story is part of the Find Your Passion series. To learn more about how you can find your passion at The University of Alabama, please visit UA Undergraduate Admissions.

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