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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA club seeks to unite, amplify student artists of all disciplines

Kyle Kersey
From left to right, Cole Bechler, Tiffany Wang and Thomas Ewell present club announcements during a PAMFAD meeting on Nov. 16. The club aims to grow member’s portfolios and help freshmen make new friends.

University of Arizona club “Production of Art, Music, Film, Acting and Dance” seeks to foster community and collaboration among student artists of all different mediums, as well as provide them opportunities to build portfolios and showcase work to the public.

Collaboration was front and center at PAMFAD’s most recent meeting on Nov. 16. After the obligatory opening club announcements, club president Tiffany Wang presented club members with a choice of activity: create an original reel or score a 46-second clip from the Pixar movie “Soul, after which members broke off into two groups to work collaboratively with one another on their chosen project.

In the “Soul” group, Thomas Ewell, a freshman music major and the club’s music relations representative, wrote a descending piano melody he said was inspired by music from “The Legend of Zelda,” which led into what he called a “crunchy jazz section.” 

Meanwhile, club vice president and senior film and television major Cole Bechler led another subgroup in providing sound effects that included crashing waves, static and some live yelling. 

Within an hour, both teams had created something together they could share with their peers, which Wang said is the whole point of the club.

The club’s mission

Founded last year by former president Kaila Hines and former vice president Sean-David Ta, the club’s slogan is “Connect, collaborate, and produce,” three elements Wang said are at the core of PAMFAD’s mission. 

“That really says it all for what PAMFAD is aiming to do,” Wang said. “So we want to first of all connect and help people create a community where they can come in and meet people. And this community needs to be welcoming for freshmen to seniors.”

That means curating both social events for freshmen to make new friends as well as inviting guest speakers to foster industry connections for outgoing seniors. One example of the latter came earlier in the semester when Joaquin Elizondo, a film and television editor who has worked on Netflix series such as “Narcos” and “Dark Winds,” was a guest speaker at a PAMFAD meeting.

The club’s Spotlight Festival aims to provide student artists with the opportunity to present their work to the public. The festival will be broken up into four different events: the “Screenwriting and Film Contest”, “Project Pop Debut”, “Still Seen” and “Unplugged”.

“Basically, we give students this public venue where they can look forward to creating their own projects and actually [share them] with the public,” Bechler said. “Whereas if you look inside the school, stuff that students work on personally, it stays personal. It doesn’t get to be publicized. So, as a club, we’re hoping to show off the talents of UA art students and give them the opportunities they deserve.”

The “Screenwriting and Film Contest” offers UA student screenwriters the opportunity to draft and submit a short film screenplay of less than 30 pages with the chance to win a $50 gift card. Wang also said PAMFAD would try to share the winning script with film faculty members and help get the film produced in the spring semester. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 14

Co-hosted with DIA Clones Dance Crew and Underskore, a K-Pop dance team at the UA, “Project Pop Debut” is a pop dance festival that will take place at Crowder Hall on Feb. 16, 2024, at 6 p.m. Preliminary auditions are due Nov. 30, but Wang said prospective participants who don’t meet that deadline should reach out to PAMFAD as it is subject to change. 

“Unplugged” will be an acoustic showcase for UA musicians. The exact time and location of the concert have yet to be determined, but auditions must be submitted by Jan. 19, 2024. According to Ewell, the event already has a promising assortment of artists.

“We’re going to have a ton of super talented artists from the University of Arizona,” Ewell said. “There’s going to be a saxophone group that’s doing mariachi. There’s going to be some super-talented vocalists who are going to be doing kind of jazzy covers. There’ll be quartets and quintets from the music school doing some lesser-known pieces that are going to be super fun.”

The final showcase of the Spotlight Festival, “Still Seen”, will allow students the opportunity to exhibit their photography, paintings and sculptures as part of InVisibility’s Student Artists Live Opportunity Night

Nonprofit work and experience

Simran Grover is both PAMFAD’s treasurer and the creator of Hometown Homage, a program where the club partners with local nonprofits and businesses to provide its members with opportunities to work on creative projects and build their portfolios. Grover, a junior studying finance and film and television, said she came up with the idea as a freshman when she performed live music at The Children’s Clinic as part of the Music and Medicine Club. 

“It was amazing every time seeing these kids light up,” Grover said. “I was like, ‘Please let me come take pictures for free. Please let me make you an ad for free.’ And [their manager] was immediately really drawn to the idea, and so now they are one of the businesses we’re working with in Hometown Homage.” 

One of the upcoming projects for Hometown Homage is a mural for Hermitage No-Kill Cat Shelter, which club members will both design and paint outside their building. 

Sasha McDonald, the club’s art relations representative and secretary, has worked extensively on the mural project. She said that the mural will be approximately 19 feet by 10 feet on the side of the building facing the road.

“If you look at Tucson, it’s a mural-based city,” McDonald said. “If you go downtown, it’s there to get you excited about the city. You immediately can feel the energy. You can see what Tucson’s all about, and I want to apply that to Hermitage.”

McDonald, a junior studying studio art with an emphasis on illustration, design and animation, said that the mural was designed by PAMFAD members, though the actual painting of the mural will be “open to anyone who is interested in painting and just getting a feel for it.”

“The whole point of PAMFAD is you get people who are excited about the arts to get to try it out,” McDonald said.

PAMFAD is open to all majors, even those not directly affiliated with fine arts. McDonald, who went to a BASIS charter school that focused on teaching STEM subjects over the arts, said she hopes the club can be a welcoming presence to students who haven’t been involved in arts communities in the past but want to dip their toes in the water.

“I think of how many STEM kids I know that have an interest in the arts but have never wanted to get anywhere near it because they think that if they’re not automatically good at it, then they can’t do it,” McDonald said. “If you have any sort of passion for music [or] film — chances are you do to some extent — why not come in and just see how you feel about it? See what you can explore. I think everybody needs a creative outlet of some sort in their life.”

Roberto Robinson Bours, a freshman studio art major with an emphasis in illustration, design and animation, discovered the club through a club fair. Robinson Bours said that his favorite part of being in PAMFAD has been networking and he’s interested in working with The Loft Cinema and Jun Dynasty as part of the Hometown Homage program.

“Jun Dynasty is asking for a lot of marketing help, like video content and Instagram posts,” Robinson Bours said. “I thought that would be cool because apart from helping out with providing visuals, I’ll also be helping with marketing, which is a business skill. And it never hurts to know something about business […]. Marketing and visual arts kind of overlap each other.”

Ewell said that he was drawn in by the community focus of PAMFAD, as well as its mission to bring student artists of different mediums together.

“It seemed like a really positive atmosphere and something that I wanted to be a part of,” Ewell said. “I think the collection of the arts is really what makes it special. There are saxophone clubs and clarinet clubs and there’s art clubs, but I feel like PAMFAD is really the only one trying to bring them all together in an arts collective kind of way.”

The best way to contact PAMFAD is through its Instagram account  @pamfad_ua. The club meets every other Thursday at 5 p.m. in room 316 of the Bartlett Academic Success Center. PAMFAD’s final meeting of the fall semester will be held Dec. 7, while its first meeting of the spring semester will be Jan. 11.

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