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Art Never Backs Down

CFA’s InCite Festival stands up for the arts in tough times

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Click on the slide show above to hear Jim Petosa, the director of CFA’s school of theatre, describe this year’s InCite Arts Festival.

When the organizers of the InCite Arts Festival, the annual showcase event for young up-and-coming artists from the College of Fine Arts, sat down after last year’s highly successful debut festival, they thought the biggest challenge for 2009 would be topping the previous year’s excitement and acclaim. Then, with a recession in full swing, the budget was cut in half.

Fortunately, artists are used to promoting their work on slim budgets and few resources, says Jim Petosa, the director of CFA’s school of theatre. “Our response was artful, creative,” he says. “We chiseled at the numbers by making production choices such as sharing venues, and the programs themselves have led to a leaner and meaner festival that doesn’t sacrifice any of the artistic oomph.”

This year’s festival, launched on Tuesday and built on the theme Art Never Backs Down, showcases work from the schools of music, theatre, and visual arts at venues around New York. The goal, says Petosa, is to get the high-quality work of the college’s student artists to the artistic mecca of New York, while also building a network of relationships with the city’s artistic community, prospective students, and alumni.

Lynne Allen, director of the school of visual arts, says the festival is also a great opportunity for the University make a statement for artists. “Artists make art because they have to; there is something in them that makes them do it,” she says. “We are saying that we’re not going to back down just because the economy is bad — artists still have things to say.”

The festival, which runs until Tuesday, March 10, kicked off with Reunited, a juried exhibition that features the work of BU’s visual arts alumni. Renowned painter John Walker, a CFA professor of art, selected the work in the exhibition, along with Dana Frankfort, an assistant professor of painting, and Richard Ryan, an associate professor of painting. Other festival events include performances of Pope Joan, a new drama by Michelle Poynton (CFA’08), Peter Brook’s La Tragedie de Carmen, and the school of theatre’s performance showcase, where graduating seniors perform for prospective casting directors and agents, and its design and production exhibit, featuring the work of BU’s student scenic designers.

Reunited is open at the DFN Gallery, 210 11th Ave., sixth floor, until March 7; La Tragedie de Carmen will be performed on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m., at New World Stages, 350 West 50th St.; Pope Joan will be performed on Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m., and Sunday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m., at New World Stages. For a complete performance schedule and ticket information, click here.

Edward A. Brown can be reached at ebrown@bu.edu.

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