Arts clubs brought to the ‘forefront’ at the AU Arts Showcase
Singers, writers and visual artists collaborate to celebrate the arts community
On the quiet afternoon of Oct. 28, jazz musicians, poets, ballroom dancers, visual artists, and a cappella singers gathered in the echoing halls of the Katzen Arts Center to celebrate one another’s artistry.
Officially, the students convened for the AU Arts Showcase, a series of performances and workshops organized by AmLit, the University’s student-run literary magazine. Sydney Hamilton, co-editor-in-chief of AmLit, said the event was a way to celebrate the range of arts communities on campus.
The afternoon commenced with musical performances from a cappella groups Dime A Dozen and Pitches Be Trippin’, with the soothing piano, bass, and drums of the AU Jazz Trio serving as a relaxing interlude in between the pop performances. Afterward, sophomore Dakoury Godo-Solo of Speak Fresh, a slam poetry and spoken word group on campus, and members of AmLit performed earnest readings of their own poems.
Following the performances, students gathered in the Katzen Rotunda, where various arts clubs set up tables to showcase their work. A spirit of collaboration was in the air as students mingled throughout the rotunda.
“It’s kind of hard when you’re into the arts and you go to AU,” Hamilton said. With the AU Arts Showcase, students “can just find a place where they can better explore their artistry,” she said.
When Godo-Solo first arrived on campus as a first-year student, he struggled to find the arts community he was looking for. He eventually discovered Speak Fresh, but it took time.
“If people are collaborating, it’s less work for everyone,” Godo-Solo said. “Exposure is important.”
Visual artists can find a home in the AU Art Students Guild, a group of students who visit art galleries and critique each other’s artwork. Senior Dan McMahon, the club’s secretary, specializes in digital painting and is working on learning how to use watercolors. He saw the showcase as a way to “network” with other artists and gain some new members for the club.
As students mingled, two student dance groups—the American Bhangra Crew and Les Couers d’Afrique—performed in the center of the rotunda. The performances were a surprise for senior Mercy Griffith, co-editor of prose for AmLit, who also voiced her hopes for the growth of the arts community at the University.
“I just think that there’s a lot more room for us to be interested in other groups,” Griffith said. “I think every single art group would be able to grow a lot more if we supported to each other.”
To cap off the event, some arts clubs ran workshops to involve students in the artistic process. The AU Ballroom Club ran a workshop on swing dancing. The club organizes lessons on various styles of dance every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Katzen.
“We love to get people out of their comfort zone a little bit,” said sophomore Grace Guber, a member of the club.
In a way, this is what the AU Arts Showcase was intended to do: expose students to new ways of creating and enjoying art.
“Sometimes the arts community is hidden under the hum of the campus community,” said Amanda Hodes, co-editor-in-chief of AmLit, “and we wanted to bring it to the forefront.”