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Performing, Visual Arts Take Center Stage Today

More than a dozen events in first-ever BU Student Arts Crawl

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There will be 16 arts events held across campus today as part of Boston University’s inaugural Student Arts Crawl. Photo courtesy of the BU Arts Initiative

When do you ever have a chance to visit an art gallery and talk to the curators, watch a play or a dance performance, participate in a theater workshop, listen to great music, and go to a party all in one day?

Answer: today. Boston University’s first ever Arts Crawl will feature 16 events held across campus throughout the day, guaranteed to engage, educate, and most important, entertain.

“This is meant to showcase the breadth and depth of opportunities available to students,” says Ty Furman, the managing director of the BU Arts Initiative, sponsor of today’s event.

The crawl kicks of at 11 a.m., and concludes with an 8:30 p.m. after-party at the 808 Gallery that will include free food and prizes. Art lovers will have a hard time choosing what to see, with one exhibition alone—the Undergraduate Student Showcase at the 808 Gallery—showing more than 200 works.

“The School of Visual Arts students love an opportunity for others to see their work,” says Lynne Allen, the school’s director and a College of Fine Arts professor of art. There are four exhibitions on view during the Art Crawl as well as an art-making event titled Still Running: An Art Marathon for Boston, where CFA students will provide supplies to anyone interested in creating a piece of art to be given to first responders and others involved in last April’s Boston Marathon bombings.

Students will have a chance to attend an open dance rehearsal, learn about art-based BU Study Abroad programs, hear live poetry, or listen to music courtesy of the BU Pep Band and the BU Jazz Ensembles. There will even be a large-scale game of musical chairs, with music performed by CFA students. “Forget ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’—think Bach and Beethoven,” says Sarah Bellott, School of Music student services coordinator. Bellott thinks today’s event will get more students involved in the arts. “I think they’ll get the bug and want to hear and play more music on campus. There’s such a wide spectrum of music and art here. The Arts Crawl is a really cool and casual way for students to enjoy it.”

First Annual Boston University Arts Crawl

The Dance Theatre Group is holding an open dance rehearsal, where students can watch as choreography is spontaneously created, from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. today in FitRec L240. Photo courtesy of the Dance Theatre Group

Each event will have materials on hand for students who want information on how to become more involved. But more than anything, the crawl is designed to give students an interactive experience. “It’s not an expo. It’s not a people-standing-behind-a-table-passing-out-literature event,” Furman says. “It’s fun. It’s active. It’s participatory, and each event is unique.”

Today’s crawl has been designed with flexibility in mind. Most events take place over at least a two-hour period, so students can stop by between or after classes. “Drop in, participate as much as you want, talk to as many or as few people as you want, and head out,” says Furman.

The 16 events will culminate at the end of the night with a party at 808 Commonwealth Avenue with music from student band the Hall of Mirrors. Students who attend more than half of the Arts Crawl events will be eligible to participate in a raffle for a variety of prizes, including an iPad mini. To prove they attended the requisite number of events, students print out an Arts Crawl tracking sheet and collect a sticker from each event host. The idea is that by encouraging students to attend as many activities as possible, they’ll learn about the vast number of arts opportunities available to them on campus.

“People don’t know how many amazing things are happening each year here. It is a large university, and it’s difficult to get this information,” Furman says. “We did focus groups last year and that was the resounding message we got. If someone is in CFA, they might not know that COM brings in amazing filmmakers many Friday evenings. COM folks might not know of the creative writing and poets brought in.”

Furman urges students to experience something new. “If you are already connected to the music scene, then stop in at a creative writing event. If you are already connected to writing, go to the Cinematheque event. That’s the way I think students should approach it,” he advises. “Students should go to something they know nothing about. Just for fun, just to know.”

The Arts Crawl begins today at 11 a.m., with some events ending as late as 10:30 p.m. The Arts Crawl After-Party runs from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the 808 Gallery. Check out the full list of events, times, and locations here.

Irene Berman-Vaporis can be reached at imbv@bu.edu.

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