FAMU Attends Art Basel

FAMU students will be able to enjoy the world of Art Basel this upcoming December. The 13th session Senate meeting passed bill SB14FA-003, which will allow for the trip to be funded by student Activities and Service fees (A&S).

Art Basel is an annual event that began in 1970 by three Basel gallerists: Ernst Beyler, Balz Hilt, and Trudi Bruckner. It is a platform for artists all over the world to display their artwork. It is held in only three cities once a year, Miami, Hong Kong, and Basel, the heart of Europe. This year marks their 44th anniversary.

The bill did not pass with ease. Freshman Senator, Aniyah Jackson proposed the bill in the meeting and the fellow senators had a plethora of questions. The bill proposed that 25 students, a mixture of engineer, architecture, and fine art students; and four faculty members, be funded for transportation, lodging, and registration for Art Basel.

Senator Jackson alongside Professor Pamela Bowens-Saffo, and student Akila Williams presented the bill and explained it.

“This trip is everything,” said visual arts professor Bowens-Saffo. “The exposure, you know the education enrichment exposure for the arts. It’s a global. It’s an international event of artist from all nationalities all over the world.”

Williams, a fourth-year FAMU pre-medicine biology and fine art student, thinks it is imperative for students to be able to see the exhibit.

“As a student I see where I can be in the future,” says Williams. “Artbasel was the first time I seen African American artist do classical paintings with present day African Americans, it was cool!”

The senators asked several questions, concerning the cost, trying to find more practical ways to accommodate the students and faculty.

Senator Derek Keaton continuously asked about the four faculty members. He wanted to assure that the money was accommodating the students. After further discussion between Keaton and Professor Bowens-Saffo, it was decided to have the faculty pay for their own registration, allowing for the expenses to be lowered. There was a lot of back and forth over the issue of having the students pay some of their registration as well; however, Professor Bowens-Saffo would not budge.

“They spend a lot of money alongside what they paid for the course, just to do the work,” says Professor Bowens-Saffo.

Students usually have proposals for professors, but this time it was the other way around. That was the least of Bowens-Saffo’s concern.

“I have a great respect for SGA, I’m most admirable of our student body here and what it is they are doing with regard to legislation, and with regard to the formality and democracy among peers," Bowens-Saffo said. "They are very professional, you know, diligent. I salute them and I’m proud of them.” 

Despite all the back and forth, the bill was passed in a 28-1 vote. The funds of $8,723 were granted to bill SB14FA-003.

“For us to be able to say that we can take students to Art Basel, every year or every alternate year, that has us [FAMU students] on the radar now,” says professor Bowens- Saffo.

Junior Senator Kordell Wilson was in support of the bill and thinks the trip will help FAMU stay relevant.

“It’s important for FAMU students to get that experience during their college years. I feel like the students who are attending will greatly benefit,” Wilson said.

For more information on Art Basel visit https://www.artbasel.com/miami-beach.