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Providing a canvas of creativity for the campus

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Providing a canvas of creativity for the campus

A pair of University of Miami students, Sofia Perez-Baux and Roma Williams, established DISE, an art community that cultivates a creative, inclusive platform for students who appreciate art and are looking to learn more about it.



What do a biomedical engineering major and an interactive media major have in common? They both believe that art is inherent and should be accessible to all.

University of Miami undergraduates Roma Williams and Sofia Perez-Baux formed an art community called DISE—a play on words combining “dice,” (“says” in Spanish), with “diseño,” (“design” in Spanish), to mean “what design says”—that cultivates a creative, inclusive community for students who are looking to create and learn more about art. The duo said what sets them apart from other groups is that most of their members are non-art majors.

“There are a lot of artistic people on campus, and we note the fact that art doesn’t have to be for people who just study art,” said Williams, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. “We wanted to build a community that is diverse and supportive for people who are not artists or maybe not as creative but have an interest and want a space to talk about their love of art.”

The students met through a mutual friend in spring 2022 and together they spend their free time visiting local art galleries and the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Last fall, Perez-Baux shared her idea of ​​creating a space for non-art majors with Williams and consequently DISE was founded.

“During my first year at the U, I took an art class with David Marsh, and this was during the pandemic. So, we weren’t really getting to see anyone around campus,” said Perez-Baux, who is now a junior. “I looked, but I didn’t find any clubs that fit what I was looking for. So, I took the initiative to start something that I wanted to see.”

Today, DISE has gathered upward of 50 campus community members, including students and faculty members, for meetings, art classes, gallery tours, and what the two students call “Art Talks.”

“The club has many positives and is a resource for students who want to engage in art-making even if they don’t have time for an intense course,” said Marsh. “The students and faculty involved are interesting people with a diverse set of skills and focus. Members should find a place where they fit in with ease.

One of Williams’ objectives in life is to begin her mission of bringing people together who can collaborate and make a difference in their communities by using creativity.

“Wherever I end up, it is a priority that I include art in the work that I do,” said the graduating senior, who will soon be working for an artificial heart valve company. “There are so many studies that show that art makes a big difference in the mind and in professional workspaces.”

The students will continue to offer events through May, when Williams graduates. And they are looking for an ambitious student who is equally as passionate about art to partner with Perez-Baux during the next academic year.

Although Perez-Baux and Williams are not art majors, art has increasingly become a large part of their lives. The pair wants campus community members to know that art doesn’t have to be confined to painting and drawing.

“Art is what helped me get into slightly better schools and to receive a decent education growing up,” said Perez-Baux, who auditioned and was accepted into magnet programs within the Miami-Dade County Public Schools System since elementary school. “Art became an escape.”

“Art is also music, its writing, its journaling, its public speaking,” said Williams. “It doesn’t have to be so black and white—it’s anything that you create.”

To keep up with DISE follow the group on Instagram @diseartorg.




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