Arts Everywhere Day is creating spaces for collaboration, creativity and compassion, both on the UNC campus and beyond this Friday, April 6.
The Arts Everywhere initiative came into fruition last year with UNC’s first Arts Everywhere Day. The goal of the initiative is to display the relevance of art and incorporate creative thinking into every aspect of the campus and community.
This year, organizers are striving to highlight both on and off-campus collaborations. Some on-campus partners include UNC Libraries, UNC School of Dentistry, UNC Campus Health and Carolina Dining Services.
“I think for us in the arts community, we feel like we’re small, and we are really trying to get people to see that it’s not about someone having to be an artist to be part of that community,” said Emil Kang, special assistant to the Chancellor for the arts.
Beyond the collision of communities, one thing that this year's Arts Everywhere Day will showcase is the spanning of creativity that exists in multiple departments at UNC.
“We know that creativity exists in so many fields and disciplines, not just the arts, and we hope that this day helps people think about that too,” said Rachel Ash, associate director of Arts Everywhere. “Last year we started a partnership with physics and math, and this year we are having a performance in the dental school atrium — and whenever we work with particular people who are outside of the arts, there’s this real excitement and energy around demonstrating their own creativity.”
Another Arts Everywhere Day development is the increase and evolution in student leadership. Several projects have been entirely led by students, with 26 student art organizations involved in the initiative. One goal of Arts Everywhere is to encourage communication between these student art organizations.
Rachael Purvis, a biology major, is bringing a project called “Before I Die” to UNC, which will be showcased outside Davis Library. The “Before I Die” wall is a global art project that was originally created by Candy Chang.
“One of my main goals is to create that reflection and allow people to think about what is really important to them,” said Purvis. “I think that is really what Arts Everywhere Day is about — creating and sharing new meaning and creating that reflective space that allows us to look deeper into ourselves.”
Arts Everywhere Day is about creating and transforming seemingly regular spaces into areas for expression and creativity.
“Every space has the power to be a creative space,” said Purvis. “So the wall outside of Davis Library is going to be able to bring reflection and bring conversation, which is another component that Arts Everywhere Day and Arts Everywhere initiative accomplishes.”
Several art classes are also involved with Arts Everywhere Day. Nina Abney, a professional artist holding a Nannerl O. Keohane visiting professorship, has been working with students in Brian Garner’s class to create a mural on Morrison Residence Hall's basketball court that will be unveiled on Friday.
“It’s exciting that this is a piece of public artwork, but also artwork that you can play on,” said Amanda Graham, associate director of engagement for Carolina Performing Arts.
Abney has collaborated with art students at UNC and art students at Duke University who will be coming to the unveiling on Friday. This collaborative project is one way that Arts Everywhere Day is connecting UNC with outside communities.
“It’s such a rare moment for students to have the opportunity to interact with such a well-known artist,” Graham said. “For (Abney) to give so much of her time to collaborating with students at UNC has been a real gift for Brian’s class and for us at Carolina Performing Arts.”
To further connect UNC's campus with outside communities, there will be pianos located in the downtown area, along with collaborations with Chapel Hill Public Library and the Orange County Arts Commission.
The Orange County Arts Commission is also facilitating a project titled “Monumental Voices," where visitors will be given pieces of canvas to paint, write poetry, draw or glue pictures responding to social questions that pertain to the news today. The canvases will then be stitched together in a quilt and displayed around different areas of the community.
“It's essentially an opportunity for people to express themselves and respond to the world as it is right now in a creative and constructive way,” said Katie Murray, director of the Orange County Arts Commission. “The primary mission is to just offer a creative and safe space for people to express themselves in response to everything happening in our world today.”
Having the ability to recognize art and creativity in all aspects of life, along with facilitating a relationship between students and community members, is one of the primary goals of Arts Everywhere Day and the Arts Everywhere initiative.
Kang also stressed the importance of students discovering connections between academics and the arts to create a narrative about themselves and their own interactions.
“Arts Everywhere Day isn’t just a day,” Kang said. “It’s a much larger initiative, and we’re trying to change campus culture."
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