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Ascending Artists Association brings student artists together

After becoming a recognized club in the spring, the organization became involved in several popular events near campus

ASU freshman art student Karen Nazario poses for a photo in Tempe, Arizona on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.
ASU freshman art student Karen Nazario poses for a photo in Tempe, Arizona on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

Feeling that ASU lacked an active place for creative expression, two students created a club last semester to bring artists together and help them connect.

Drawing freshman Fernando Cabrera-Gonzalez is the president and co-founder of the Ascending Artists Association, serving alongside his friend Kaden Aldridge, the other co-founder for the club and vice president. 

During high school Cabrera-Gonzalez said he wasn't a very involved student, but he wanted that to change while in college. He decided to become more involved with life on campus by joining a club to meet and interact with other artists.

Aldridge and Cabrera-Gonzalez met each other during orientation and found similar interests in art and a desire to meet others who shared their passion.

The duo was desperate to find a club that they could meet other artists in and get involved with. After deciding that the painting club wasn’t active enough, Aldridge and Cabrera-Gonzalez came up with an idea.

Within weeks the two began hosting club meetings despite not being an official club. It wasn’t until the 2017 spring semester that the club became official, Cabrera-Gonzalez said.

"There is a mentality that it is hard to be an artist and it is hard to survive while doing this for a living," Cabrera-Gonzalez said. "We want to break that mentality."

The goal of the club, he said, is to “provide people with the opportunity to come together.” He added the group provides a chance for the students to work on and critique each other's art beyond posting online.

Cabrera-Gonzalez posts a large amount of his work online to help boost exposure. By making the club, he said he hopes to help other students with their exposure.

Despite being an official club for less than a semester, the club has managed to be active both on and off campus, Cabrera-Gonzalez said. The Ascending Artists Association has put on various art shows around campus and participated in the last Third Thursday hosted by the PAB.

Read more: Third Thursday showcases student art and talent on campus

The club now has about nine active members, Cabrera-Gonzalez said. One of those members is Karen Nazario.

Nazario is the design manager for the club. Because the group has only recently been officially recognized, she said much of its social media is still under construction. She said the club has an Instagram but it is not yet active. The club is also working on a logo and a website, she said. 

The club is even looking into participating in First Friday in Downtown Phoenix.

Nazario participated in the Third Thursday event as well and said that she was surprised by how much of an impact her artwork had. She said she thinks it’s important for people to know that anyone can do art if they want.

“Whether it be gum or staples, if people want to make art, it can happen,” Nazario said.

That’s part of what the club is about, members said. Any student is free to join and work on art with a chance to have it put in an exhibition.

"There is already a community of artists that exists in Phoenix," Aldridge said. "People just need to find a way to connect to it."

Cabrera-Gonzalez said that's exactly what the organization is there for. There is an entire community of artists all doing incredible work and waiting to be noticed, he added. 

“It is all just a matter of being connected," said Cabrera-Gonzalez. "And that is what we are here for.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @AndrewMcKenney  on Twitter.

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