Abby Wooten's project as a Chancellor’s Fellow brings her time at UNC full circle.
Wooten, who graduated from the University last spring, saw her fellowship opportunity to complete project-based work at UNC as a chance to spotlight Arts Everywhere.
Arts Everywhere Day is an annual celebration of all types of creativity on campus. Wooten said she initially attended it as a first-year student — now, as an alumna, she helped plan the event.
From her first time attending, she remembers classmates singing a capella, groups performing multicultural dances and pianos sitting in campus spaces available for attendees to play. As a non-arts student, she said her interest in still participating in UNC creative spaces inspired the 2023 Arts Everywhere theme – "YOU are an artist."
“It gives people an opportunity that, no matter what side of campus they're on, no matter what department they're involved in, they can come and be a part of this,” Wooten said.
There will be a wide variety of performances, exhibits, hands-on activities and installations throughout UNC’s campus and the surrounding communities on Friday, April 14.
Alicia Ha is a junior coordinator of the UNC Asian American Center’s mural project exhibit to be showcased during the event. She said the mural will display pieces reflecting on historical events prevalent in Asian American experiences.
Ha said the exhibit being part of Arts Everywhere Day will help garner attention for the project while also give people the opportunity to learn about Asian American history.
“Art is just one form of expression that a lot of people use, and it's also able to bring a lot more people together,” Ha said. “Art is easier to observe than reading an academic paper, which is also important, but I think art is just so much more accessible in spreading awareness.”
As Wooten and the rest of the Chancellor’s Fellows looked for exhibits and performances to be part of Arts Everywhere Day, they wanted a diverse array of art mediums and community identities to be featured.
As they were conducting outreach for the day, Wooten said the team reached out to almost every campus organization and provided an opportunity for them to be part of the project. The organizations had the freedom to choose what they wanted to present.
“It's important to be a part of arts organizations to keep the arts alive,” Wooten said.
She added that Arts Everywhere gives students an opportunity to learn about and become involved in arts projects and activities on campus.
Noah Houser, business manager of the UNC Walk-Ons, said the a cappella group plans to perform on Arts Everywhere Day. He is also excited to see the other groups perform — and to show people that art can act as a creative escape from many college students' daily routines.
“I think that by being exposed to a bunch of different kinds of art students can really understand and express their individuality," Houser said. “I think that students at Chapel Hill, we kind of become a number, we become a GPA or an LSAT score."
UNC Glee Club member Allison Baumgartner said she hopes that her group's performance and the other exhibits happening on Arts Everywhere Day will provide students with a sense of community.
“It's a wonderful environment and community that you can really explore yourself, but also the world around you and different perspectives," she said. "Something that is really great about art is really that communication dialogue, and that can be any type of medium."
Among other events, "The Story of Us" — an oral history project that documents the experiences of LGBTQ+ students at UNC — will also be celebrated at Arts Everywhere Day. It is set to premiere over the weekend.
A full schedule of all the exhibits, performances and interactive events can be found on the Arts Everywhere website.
CLARIFICATION: This article has been updated to more accurately describe "The Story of Us" in relation to Arts Everywhere Day.
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