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Student Feature: Jake Ward, clarinetist, creative director and pandemic entrepreneur

By Lilian Varner

Scythian Media

Drawing. Music. Fashion. Jacob Ward has his creative teeth in all three. 

Jacob Ward is a junior at SMTD.

A junior in the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance studying clarinet performance and minoring in performing arts management and entrepreneurship, Ward seeks influence from anything he can. 

“I like to seek inspiration from wherever my brain tells me is good for me,” said Ward. “Everyone has different tastes, so when I see something or hear something in my taste, I’ll save that. It can change every single day if not every single week

His ability to go with the flow has led Ward to a variety of hobbies and artistic pursuits—as well as a multitude of collaborations.

At the beginning of quarantine, Ward was thinking about how he was going to build his professional portfolio. After a Zoom meeting with his friends where they brainstormed projects that would foster art-making and artist promotion, Ward created his startup SCARBO, an all-inclusive digital arts community and platform.

“Anyone can get involved, anyone can do whatever they want, make any art they want, we’ll post it for them,” he said. “We are trying to build a community of students and artists—which is not necessarily limited to people living in Ann Arbor. We’ve featured artists from across the country.”

After collaborating with Philippa Hughes, a well-known social sculptor and creative strategist, Ward and the SCARBO team launched a “Politics and Your Mental Health” theme on their platform, an informational campaign meant to start a dialogue about American politics and how it affects individuals’ mental health. 

Recently, Ward was also appointed the creative director for SHEI magazine, a student-run editorial print and digital fashion publication at U-M. He had been working there for the past year as a digital fashion editor where he has enjoyed collaborating with the other editors to create the themes for each issue, maximizing the content output of SHEI. 

Listen to his full interview with Christina Shepich on the U-M Arts & Culture student podcast, where he discusses his favorite issue of SHEI, his current collaborations and his personal experience as a student artist at U-M.

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