By Janette Ebbers, news correspondent
A Northeastern student was among 15 university students behind Free.All.Mind$, an art collective and production organization that aims to foster diversity and artistic creativity.
Tyler Blint-Welsh, a third-year journalism major at Northeastern, helped to launch the multimedia art initiative in January with other university students who he produced music with as a high school student. Free.All.Mind$ is a varied group; members’ artistic interests range from media to media, and members are involved with business aspects as well as artistic ones.
“We would call ourselves a platform for art and creativity,” Blint-Welsh said. “We have members that create music, production, photography, writing, videography and other art.”
A goal of the initiative is to foster understanding in people from different backgrounds, an idea that has roots in the collective’s history.
“Diversity creates perspective,” Blint-Welsh said. “We all come from New York City, which is a pretty diverse place, racially and culturally. It’s the kind of place where you can do anything and be anything you want.”
The collective’s diversity is part of what makes it so unique, said Luca Bozzo, an audio engineer with the collective and a political science, advertising and public relations major at Macaulay Honors College in New York City.
“We all came from different experiences, backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, races and thoughts,” Bozzo said. “That’s something that’s really shaped my life, just meeting people who don’t think like me, talk like me, or act like me, and learning from them, and sharing with them. Diversity is something that we as a collective try to embody not only through our passions but also in who we are.”
Diversity is important to the collective as a business, said Eghosa Aiyevbomwan, artist and financier for the collective and a junior business management major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
“Diversity is something that gives the business a competitive advantage,” Aiyevbomwan said. “Ultimately, when you have a firm or an entity that is representing just one thing, you are limited in the number of people you can reach. When you add diversity as one of your main factors, not only does your audience become that much greater, but your message in terms of how many people you can reach gets wider. I feel like it opens a lot of doors for us.”
Running a student art business can offer challenges as well as rewards, but Blint-Welsh said the collective is confident in its work.
Although the collective was launched in January, Bozzo said the group of friends had been working together since high school.
“We first came up with the idea when some of us came up with an album called ‘Senioritis,” Bozzo said. “It was kind of a thrown-together thing, but we saw it through from start to finish, and that was the first point where we realized we could work together to create something bigger than ourselves and we could follow our passions to make that a reality.”
Free.All.Mind$ is about encouraging increasing understanding and perspective, and celebrating diversity, Bozzo said.
“We feel like we can set an example for others to push their boundaries and sense of creativity through our own actions,” he said. “There are some people in positions of power who view others as people worth fearing, and the message that we try to project is [that] we embrace and value others.”
Photo by Rio Asch Pheonix
Tyler Blint-Welsh was previously a correspondent for The News.