By: Bridget Pocasangre
“Seeing young people in the hallways smiling, laughing, skipping, just being crazy, having a really good time and just popping in on different events and watching on how engaged everybody is and how relaxed everything is, but for the people who go to BAM, they seem to have a really good time, that’s the ultimate goal.”This is Mr. Cruickshank’s vision for Because Art Matters. It has become a reality, but not for much longer.Because Art Matters, also known as BAM, is an artistic event that happens once every school year at Oceana High School. It will take place here on campus this Friday from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. While this has been an annual event, this year will be its last.
This event is produced by the Juniors and Seniors (also known as BAMmies) at Oceana who commit tp being part of organizing the event along with other volunteers in the community and other high schools in the JUHSD. Mr. Cruickshank and the BAMmies put a lot of effort in creating the event during school and every Thursday and Friday afterschool. Many organizations and companies give donations to help support BAM.
BAM started in 2001. The first BAM was a fundraiser to a trip to Mexico. It was also to make an event that displayed all different types of art that people created. There was no theme for the first BAM; it was until the third BAM when a theme was created. “I don’t think we had a theme until our third and then I made it into BAM cubed which everybody thought it was ridiculously stupid but I insisted on it,” claims Mr. Cruickshank.
Different themes are created each year with different types of art. Some years even have mascots representing the theme of the event. In 2009, the theme was “nine lives”. In 2010, there was a squid that represented the event, and X was used instead of the number 10. In 2011, the mascot was a rabbit because it was the year of the rabbit. In 2012, it was an end-of-the-world/mayan theme. There was no mascot for that year, but instead they had a Mayan inspired design.
Many students have fun creating the event. Erin Perry, a student from Oceana’s Class of 2012, states, “I think just seeing it pulled together is the best part. We spend a lot of the year discussing possibilities, changing plans, adapting, but then towards the approaching date we see all these plans become tangible and real. It’s an exciting and rewarding feeling, and all the people who are a part of it make it such a great experience too.”
There are different sections of BAM that students can work on. These sections include: Outreach, Galleries, Site, personnel, Treasurer and Venue. Junior Andie Sanchez works in Outreach and Galleries. She describes, “I get to promote stuff in the advertisement area, which means I don’t get to show my face, but I am still doing stuff.”The job can be stressful at times. Junior Netta Chim says, “It is stressful. There are different jobs for each volunteer. We are committed to one certain job and if you don’t fulfill that job you feel bad.”
BAM is a job and a commitment that many students make. It takes one whole school year to be able to plan this event. “BAM is not something that is super easy and we kind of pull together in a few days. BAM is a whole year worth of effort for everyone in the school. I am pretty sure there are a lot of people who are proud of it so they should realize that as much as you may not like something or you don’t like it, you have to realize that people are doing this because they like it and they should respect the fact that this is a most student run event,” says Junior Suzanne Concillo.
BAM has a significant meaning to each BAMmie. Some describe it as a good feeling to be around great people and do something useful. “It is a good feeling to work together with other people because like I am not used to extracurricular activities and I like to be a part of something. It feels fun and I feel like I am doing something useful,” claims Junior Jacky Arrieta-Peixoto.
Others feel that it is important to have BAM. Junior Allison Ramirez states, “I feel like it’s really important because what other school has BAM? Like no other. I feel like to describe BAM, it would be like one of those people you meet and you just like them right away and that they are super artistic and super motivated and a person everyone looks up to. If BAM was a person, it would be someone you would look up to. It makes Oceana a very special place.”
Some even build skills to help them in their future. Junior Sam Stolerman feels that “I like being involved in BAM and helping create all these lanterns and stuff because since I am considering in becoming an artist when I get older, I thought BAM would be good because it teaches you what to do for like a gallery and how to set it up and stuff.”
Unfortunately, this year will be the final BAM. When asked why he will no longer be running the event, Mr. Cruickshank explains, “Well, I got to cut back from what I do. I got to give myself a break for a variety of reasons and what I hope do is a one night much shorter scale sort of like a talent show or art review, have the choir perform have some students from my theater class perform see if anybody wants to do any acoustic performance and try to just have a one to two hours arts review evening and put up work of the art students on display keep it small-scale, just Oceana. Something that we can organize in one or two weeks rather than a whole year.”
Jacky Sifuentes, a student from Oceana’s Class of 2012, reflects on the significance of BAM by saying, “BAM, to me, is something that allows everyone to just be themselves, come out of their shell and face their fears. With all the opportunities to try new things and put yourself out there the night of BAM it’s hard not to be free. So don’t try to contain it. BAM is my inspiration to be who I want to me no matter what anyone has to say or think.”