Sumi Ink Club makes its mark at Rice

Members of the Rice and Greater Houston communities descended upon the Rice Media Center Feb. 15, 17 and 18 to join Los Angeles-based Sumi Ink Club artists in creating a drawing painted with brush and ink on the center’s gallery walls. The participatory public art project drew more than 150 people over the three days, including a group of 28 eighth-graders from a local middle school.

“The final drawing depicts a lot of different things,” said Rice Assistant Professor of Visual and Dramatic Arts Natasha Bowdoin, who brought the Sumi Ink Club to Houston with the help of a grant from the university’s Arts Initiatives Fund. “Because it is a truly collaborative drawing, no one section represents an individual’s work but instead imagery that has developed through multiple hands and styles. There are some recognizable images, some fields of pattern. It really is a manifestation of the interior thoughts, ideas and emotions of everyone that participated.”

The finished project was unveiled as an exhibition at a public reception Feb. 19. The exhibition is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and on limited hours Saturday. It will close March 21. In conjunction with the exhibition, a drawing symposium featuring artists, scholars and curators will be held March 20 at the Media Center.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Sumi Ink Club, which started in 2005 with a small neighborhood meeting in Rhode Island. Led by Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck, the Sumi Ink Club has since held meetings all over the world, including a meeting in October at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles that drew thousands of people. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow, time-lapse video by Brandon Martin) 

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.