MSU appreciates the life art brings to campus and the strength, dimension and depth it brings our culture. The 2007-2008 academic year has been officially designated with a year-long celebration of the dynamic duo: arts and culture.
Colorful acrobatics of Cirque du Soleil, huge diamonds at the MSU Museum, an interactive hands-on exhibition in the Art Museum at MSU, oodles of guest lecturers and a guy who makes fiber sound suits out of garbage. These are just a few of the events coming to MSU for the “Year of Arts and Culture.”[simon]
In her February State of the University address, Lou Anna K. Simon stated:
“Across the nation and here in Michigan, structural social inequalities persist. These inequalities result in tangible disparities in things like income levels and access to quality education and health care, and intangible disparities like reduced expectations and respect. They are insidious because they limit individual dreams and collective innovation.
(I’m interrupting Ms. Simon for a sec to say that it’s depressing right now but keep going, it gets better.)
“We must commit ourselves to reversing these trends… we cannot overlook the critical role arts and culture play both in nurturing the human spirit and preparing our students for a global world. While there are many ways MSU advances arts and culture through teaching, research, and outreach, I want to highlight one special example here: We will officially declare 2007-08 MSU’s Year of Arts and Culture.”
The initiatives our president speaks of are basically a smorgasbord of events specifically created with this celebration in mind. Also known as “Signature Events,” the list is very long and an interesting and enriching value of each of them could easily be pointed out. Out of the pile, here are five events students (on a budget) might enjoy.
The Paper Sculpture Show
The Paper Sculpture Show at the Art Museum at Kresge Art Center. Forget about not touching things in a museum. You can leave your mark all over that place! First, 29 artists designed the paper boxes: think less delicate origami. Next, you choose the design to suit your tastes and create a three-dimensional piece of art that will live out its time in the museum for all to see. As the weeks pass, more visitors create boxes and the exhibition grows. Best part: It’s free. 9/4/2007- 10/14/2007
Dinosaur Dash[art2]
MSU Federal Credit Union Dinosaur Dash. The MSU Museum and MSU Federal Credit Union are moving their bones to keep funding for the dinosaurs from becoming extinct. The annual Dino Dash 5K race/walk is an event that helps support the educational programs at the MSU Museum which holds the area’s only fully-mounted dinosaur cast. MSU Federal Credit Union Dinosaur Dash entry forms are available at MSUFCU branches, Playmakers on Grand River Ave. in Okemos, and at the MSU Museum; or on-line at Events/DinosaurDash . 10/7/2007
Marion Post Wolcott Photographs presented by The Art Museum at MSU, at Kresge Art Center
A picture says a thousand words, so get your eyes and ears ready. Marion Wolcott Post was ahead of her time. While the culture believed women should be in the kitchen, Wolcott-Post was using her work as a social commentary in the U.S. The exhibition shows Wolcott’s photographs from the obscure to her best known work, such as her documentation for the Farm Security Administration. Wolcott’s photography dealt with such issues as racial discrimination in the South and the lives of the poor as well as the wealthy. Price: free. Experiencing the work of a world-renowned, kick-ass woman photographer: priceless. 10/20/2007- 12/14/2007
Anuna: Celtic Origins
Anuna rose to popularity after being the voices of Riverdance: the people who sang the Irish tunes Michael Flatley jigged to. Fourteen singers and three musicians create a group of talent and diversity to keep the evening one of your more interesting nights. The group will be doing their thing in Cobb Great Hall in the Wharton Center at 7:30 p.m., and it cotst $20 for students. Really, if these people can make Flatley do that with his legs, you might just get into it also. 10/24/2007
Arts OR Crafts
[stage]A world premiere play written specifically for the Year of Arts and Culture (YAC) by Head of Acting director at MSU, Rob Roznowski, who described the play as a chance for the College of Arts and Letters to show they are a vital and active part of the university. Satirical, quirky and thought-provoking, the play examines the question of what truly makes a creation “art.” A series of one skit after another, “Arts or Crafts” is designed to keep you laughing, tongue in cheek the entire time. The event takes place at the Pasant Theatre, Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The price is $15 for general public and $12 for students and seniors. “We have a responsibility to do this on stage for public consumption, to explain the human condition. The stage becomes a cultural laboratory. We want to prove arts are compelling and necessary,” Roznowski said. 11/13/2007- 11/18/2007
To organize the information and events, a team of MSU staff members collaborated to create a website for the celebrations. The site went live in August. You can surf around, check the news features and read longer descriptions of the events. While MSU has always had a multitude of ways to explore arts, MSU Communications Manager and Year of Arts and Culture committee member Lisa Mulcrone said now it’s easier than ever for students to learn about the huge number of offerings MSU has and how take advantage of them, especially outside of the classroom.
“Students can certainly benefit from the Year of Arts and Culture. Because we’ve gathered so many events, programs and information about arts and culture on one Web site and are promoting them in a coordinated fashion all over campus, it’s easy to find many ways to explore programs or events that they might not be aware of or experienced before,” Mulcrone said.
Even our near-and-dear electronic friend, Facebook, has gotten into the YAC spirit. Facebook features a group entitled, “Year of Arts and Culture!” aimed at bringing students’ attention to the events happening by featuring Spartan Podcasts, photos, discussions and reminders of upcoming events.
Studio art junior Jen Hamilton has been attuned to the impact of the arts in her life and its significance on campus. Hamilton has a keen eye for the artistic and said it is everywhere in our lives, from the clothes you wear to the music you like to the box of cereal you bought at the grocery store. “Art is definitely a significant part of students’ lives. It’s a significant part of everyone’s life and most of the time we take it for granted because we’re so used to it,” Hamilton said. You see those things so much and don’t even consider the fact that they’ve been designed, that they’re art. It’s important to keep art thriving on campus. It gives people perspective and a greater understanding of art’s influence.
“It’s one of those things where, if it were suddenly taken away, life would be a lot different,” Hamilton said. “We need to do everything we can to promote appreciation for the arts.”[stockshoe]
Poet Amy Lowell once said art is the desire of man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in. The way we perceive our world should be recorded in any medium possible so our inspirations can live on to inspire others. If a record is left of what we saw and how we felt, future generations can take our messages with them, be it a tangible object or intangible concept. The future can be much stronger and strength is to be found within the exploration of arts and culture; this exploration will be pervasive on campus this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *