By Shana Blatt
The Stood is the heart of Purchase—a hot spot dedicated to providing a student-run and student-funded creative space; in other words, a space free from administrative constraints.
This newfound freedom of students to have a place all their own encourages a certain creative freedom. Students have a place to chill and hang out with their friends in a venue bursting with creative energy. The Stood’s old website, an internet relic, states that “the Stood is the place where creativity is allowed to flow free and explode out of people’s eyeholes and ears and bottoms.”
Young and budding with ideas, the Stood knew its mission from the start. And nowadays, it’s clear that this mission has been fulfilled, that it continues to be fulfilled with every art gallery, every Whitson’s show, and every screen print. Students are free to sample each and every creative pursuit nestled in the building. Conversely, students are also free to do nothing at all: to chill, to sit and sink into vintage couches collected over the years for the Stood’s collection. And this is just as important as other creative pursuits because often, it’s in those moments of just being, of sitting with one’s ideas, that inspiration strikes. As a desk employee at the Stood, when I’m not handing out pool sticks or Ping-Pong paddles, I flip through the old Stood logs—a sort of diary for Stood employees, a place to write down thoughts Stood-related or otherwise during a shift. Since my shift is on Mondays, and the Stood barely buzzes, I find myself doing a whole lot of nothing—I can just sit behind the desk, ruminating, letting images form themselves in my mind. I sit with these images and they grow; I put pen to paper and the ideas bloom on the page, expanding, contorting within the vast space I allowed them. Surrounded by layers and layers of history painted on the Stood walls, this space appears almost sacred.
This past semester alone, we’ve had countless bands play in Whitson’s, and Fall Fest this November was headlined by rapper Kyle, and indie darlings, Porches, on the main stage. Every one-to-two weeks a brand new art show goes up in the Forum Art Space—sometimes a solo show featuring one artist, other times a collection of art centered on a common theme. A folder of blank gallery proposals sits perpetually on the front desk. The Art Co-Op lets students trade in art supplies, and students are welcome to come in just to make art. Every day of the week, at least one band practices in the Dino Room, and their music floats through the Stood and out the doors. Every inch of the Stood is filled with creative energy—it’s messy, and yet maintains an order which a brilliant painter could understand.
In the Stood logs I see years and years of creativity. I pick up the Fall 2016 Stood Log and thumb through it slowly, meditating on the pen drawings, the accounts of pool players, the nicknames people gave themselves to maintain a semblance of anonymity And in this building, surrounded by murals painted by kids my age, I find myself inspired. The environment gives me a drive to create, but not through the usual manic sputtering of thoughts onto the page, a process that leaves me desperate to stumble upon effortless meaning. Instead, the beautiful disarray of the building’s interior, the murals flowing into each other, brushstrokes precise only to an extent—these inspire me to give my creative thoughts space to breathe and to grow until they are self-inspiring. Ideas flow into each other and out of each other, reaching out for new meaning like waves lapping up the shore, entering and re-entering similar thoughts as if they were mazes with multiple paths. The Stood, rich with history and resounding with the footfalls of new students each year, continues to inspire creativity and collaboration.