Highlighting Arts at Tech with Georgia Tech Creatives

Georgia Tech students Lekha Gowda and Akbar Khan spotlight the artistic side of Tech students with on-campus organization Georgia Tech Creatives (GTC). The organization hosts art workshops, demonstrations, thrift markets, and other events for Tech students to enjoy.

Akbar, Lekha, and another student pose for a photo while sitting on a stone wall adjacent to Tech Green.
Akbar Khan (left) and Lekha Gowda (center) with another GTC member at a GTC Paint and Sit event. Image Courtesy of Georgia Tech Creatives, @gtcreatives on Instagram.

In tandem with Georgia Tech Arts and other campus resources, Georgia Tech Creatives (GTC) founders Lekha Gowda and Akbar Khan encourage Tech students to fully embrace their creative side. While Tech students are known as leaders in technology and innovation, GTC emphasizes how the arts complement the two concepts by allowing students to explore and expand their interests.

The initial idea for the club came during a photoshoot. Fourth-year architecture major Khan was honing his photography skills, and fourth-year business administration major Gowda was exploring her interest in modeling. The more they talked during the process, the more they realized the need for a creative space on campus.

“We’d both been struggling to meet other creatives here,” said Gowda. “We realized we knew of a lot of creative people at Tech, but it was hard for us to meet one another because there wasn’t an effective, dedicated space for us to connect.”

Thus, the foundations of GTC were set. Initially, Gowda and Khan aimed to host an on-campus market for artists to connect and sell their work. It was during the planning process they realized having a dedicated community would be even more beneficial.

“We realized it was a pretty big task to bring all these people together. It would make more sense if we created the community and then built the events around that,” said Gowda.

Since Fall 2022, when the club started, their executive team has grown to 12 students, all of whom started off coming to meetings, and stayed due to their shared appreciated for the GTC mission. Gowda, Khan, and their team have grown GTC to nearly 3,000 followers on Instagram and have hosted dozens of events on Tech’s campus, with some events bringing out over 400 students. For them, the fast rise of the club is a testament to the community and the intersection of creativity and technology within Tech students.

“You can find 20 different ways to code something to produce the same output, so I think that the narrative of saying engineering or coding isn’t creative is limiting,” said Gowda. “So many students here have convinced themselves that they can’t be artistic because they’re in STEM. But, if they integrate both, they can improve their craft even more.”

An intentional part of the design of GTC is that there’s no membership fee to join. Without a fee to participate, people who don’t typically find themselves leaning into their artistic side can show up and learn something new. For both Gowda and Khan, growing not only participation in the art scene but art appreciation among the student body is a key mission of the club.

Khan’s advice for prospective students is to keep in mind that Tech has many artistic resources. When he first came to Tech, he had no idea there was an arts department or a full-blown recording studio in the School of Music. Through GTC, they’ve built some awareness around these parts of Tech, but Khan wants prospective students to know about them too.

In addition, Gowda and Khan both encourage prospective students to hold on to their artistic outlet as they continue their education.

“For students considering Tech, I think it’s important to know that your artistic side doesn’t need to die out. We want to support you in doing the opposite. You can create and still pursue your degree,” said Khan. “It’s all about balancing and finding ways for the arts to plug in to your major, too.”