Athletics and Art Intersect at Maker’s Market


Photo by Mads Olsen

Tables at the Winter Maker’s Market display student art for sale.

On Dec. 5, the Science Center walkway was abuzz with students as they browsed prints, jewelry, and other handmade goods at the Winter Maker’s Market. The event was an opportunity for student artists to sell their work to the Oberlin community and for buyers to support their peers. Among those selling their work were a few student-athletes, including College third-year on the women’s tennis team Dina Nouaime, who was selling bags she had painted on. For Nouaime, art has always played an important role in her life. 

“My parents would take me to art classes and art lessons,” she said. “I was always that kid that would doodle in class. A lot of my friends at Oberlin are also artists, and one of my friends was one of the people who helped revive Maker’s Market this summer, so a lot of my friends partook in it then. I unfortunately couldn’t make the summer Maker’s Market, but when I heard that it was happening again this semester, I knew that I wanted to participate.” 

College third-year Maya Das O’Toole, a member of Oberlin’s trans-inclusive women’s rugby team, the Rhinos, knew that she wanted to be involved in the art scene but did not plan on selling art in college until her positive experience with the Maker’s Market over the summer semester. 

“I’ve been doing art since high school, but I never really had the urge to sell my work,” she said. “But there’s such a good artistic community at Oberlin, and Maker’s Market went so well over the summer and was such a good space that I decided to participate again this semester.”

At a place like Oberlin, it is normal to see people with a wide range of interests, and student-athletes are no different. For Nouaime, both athletics and art have served as outlets to offset the stress of academics. 

“Both [art and tennis] are pretty good outlets in terms of reinvigorating myself and de-stressing after class,” she said. “I’ve also been able to meet a lot of new people through the athletic and art community as well, which has been nice.” 

Das O’Toole added that there are a lot of people who do art alongside athletics, as she was one of three people on her team who participated in Maker’s Market. 

“Three people on our team sold stuff at Maker’s Market, so there’s definitely a lot of people who do art that are also on the team,” she said. “One of my good friends on the team is also a Studio Art major like I am, so there’s a lot of people on the team with similar interests so our interests in art and athletics definitely intersect.” 

College third-year on the field hockey team Post went to the Marker’s Market to support their friends and see everyone’s work. 

“I loved getting to see all my friends be celebrated for such wonderful talent!” they wrote in an email to the Review. “It was also cool seeing people I didn’t know made art and be proud of their products.”

Currently, the Rhinos are working to create a holiday calendar, a project that Das O’Toole believes combines the interests of her teammates who are also involved in art. 

“Right now, we’re working on a naked holiday calendar, which has been a fun way for people who are artsy to create something that also involves rugby,” Das O’Toole said. “In terms of community, everyone on club sports teams is super supportive, and the same is true for the art community as well. … It’s nice to see how my friends work to support each other both on the team and off the field.” 

At other schools, there is sometimes the stereotype that student-athletes are not involved in the rest of campus culture, but Das O’Toole believes that there is no basis for this myth at Oberlin. 

“The average Oberlin student does so many things and has so many facets to their personality, including student-athletes,” she said. “Most athletes I know have an artistic outlet, and on the flip side, most people at Oberlin have a physical outlet like biking or running. We’re lucky to have all of these opportunities, and people’s interests often intersect. The rugby team is really supportive of all teammates and their different outlets. No one at Oberlin can fit into one box or be defined by one activity … because everyone does so much.”