Arts and Culture

Arts Around the Counterclock

By Riva Rubin


From July 15 to Aug. 15, an online fellowship program for interdisciplinary arts called the COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective took place. With members from all around the world, the roots of the program started here, at Pinewood. 

The Arts Collective is a summer program created by and for passionate young artists of all disciplines, according to senior Sarah Feng. 

While all fellows had their own direction with their art form, all could be split into visual arts, writing, and music. An individual from each discipline was then placed into a small group, otherwise referred to as a cohort. Each cohort would have a video call once or twice a week to agree on a theme to focus on, get to know one another better, and review each other’s works. Every artist was different, so each cohort had a unique interdisciplinary combination and focus.

Every artist had one week to work on their project. They were then able to send them to mentors of their choice. Despite 2019 being the program’s premiere year, the large, impressive range of mentors offered each fellow unique feedback for every week. Mentors were talented artists of varying disciplines, ages, and professional accomplishments. The feedback gave the fellows something to improve on, which they would then apply to their projects and discuss once they would have their weekly cohort call. 

Sophomore Arina Oberoi participated in the program as a music fellow. Encountering different ranges of expertise and knowledge, Oberoi said she learned from different people. 

“The people who were in my cohort were really talented, and, from them, I learned about artists they liked and from that, I learned more about written pieces,” Oberoi said.

Acting as the program’s founder and director, Feng led the Arts Collective to success. Despite facing doubts,  she decided to pursue the creation of the program.

“When I first decided to embark on this project, people were telling me ‘it is too hard, you are not going to be able to finish it,’ seeing as it was finals season. Let’s just try, and if it doesn’t work, then we’ll see,” Feng said.  

With strong co-workers and wise advice from her father, Feng pulled the program together, learning about what it means to be resilient and how to be a strong leader, organizer, and effective communicator throughout the course of four weeks. 

In order to promote the program, senior Katherine Han acted as the program’s media director. Though not directly involved in the arts program, Han learned a great deal from promoting and advertising the fellowship, Han said.

“[Running the Instagram account] really taught me a lot about how best to reach people, as well as reminded me of the power that media has over people and how influential it can really be,” Han said.

The 2019 COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective was a triumph, with a set foundation ready to be built upon in the coming years. All involved learned a great deal, be it through organizing, leading, being persistently hardworking, and or participating in the arts. It is a free program that teaches through interaction and creation, really furthering one’s mastery in their art form.