I never really know what to expect when I climb into the attic space of the theater in Spruance Fine Arts Center. Most people don’t even realize this room exists, let alone know what happens inside. Some days we’re making mustaches, sometimes we’re painting zombie or werewolf masks, and other times we’re creating giant crab claws out of foam core. I often wonder what people think when they see me outside the building gluing together a giant ape costume or spray-painting mini skeleton trophies. Don’t mind me, just gluing on some monkey fur. I love it!
When I was first offered the opportunity to work in the costume shop, I didn’t really know what to expect. Most students apply for the “sit at a desk and do your homework” work-study, but the costume shop isn’t that kind of setting. I was also sort of intimidated when I thought about the variety of projects undertaken in that room full of artists. Sewing, painting, crafting—anything could happen, I thought. But that’s also what excited me about making the climb.
I knew that working at the costume shop would be an invaluable opportunity. As an artist, I’m always eager to learn how to use different tools and implement new techniques, since it helps me grow my skills. This job allows me to do that. My boss is also one of the most talented and approachable people I know. When I want to know how to do something—maybe make a submarine out of nothing but push pins and glue—she helps me figure out the best way to go about it. Everyone who works in the costume shop is so talented, and it’s inspiring to be surrounded by such creativity.
Whenever my shift ends, I leave that little attic feeling very accomplished and happy to be a part of something bigger than my studies. The purpose of the costume shop is to create costumes and props for Arcadia University theatre performances, and it’s very cool that when I go to see a play, I can look at a costume and say, I helped make that. Crafting in the attic also takes my mind off the stress of school for a while. It’s a way to decompress, which is a very valuable thing for a college student.