By Bailey O’Neil
Aurora University- Sidewalks boast colorful geometric chalk designs. Students laugh as they watch fellow peers play improv games. Crowds gather with excitement to watch an upcoming performance. These were just a few sights to be seen on the Aurora University campus. This was the Art Walk.
On April 20, Aurora University hosted its third annual Art Walk across the campus, featuring numerous events from various arts classes and organizations of the university. “The Art Walk is a celebration of arts and artists on the Aurora University campus,” said Theatre professor and one of the organizers of Art Walk, Stacy Parker Joyce. “It’s a great way to see what kind of art is being made by students, by faculty, and by staff.”
The event ran from 10:30 a.m to 2:00 p.m, and there was a constant schedule of stations and events people could visit throughout that time. The Art Walk featured art exhibits, poetry readings, musical performances, food stations, karaoke, and more. The event primarily focused on the art departments on campus, but other campus departments participated as well, including Communication and Philosophy. It was truly a full campus effort.
Madeline Sandgren, a junior who performed in the musical theatre scenes, was able to tie-dye a shirt, watch some performances, and make flumage art in addition to performing herself. “The Art Walk was so much fun!” she said. “It gave theatre, music, and art students a chance to show what they’ve been working on for the semester, and it gave students the opportunity to go out and watch some amazing performers or make some cool crafts.”
The Art Walk also allowed students to showcase their talent as well as their involvement, with many students being involved in more than one aspect of the walk. Benjamin Donahue, a junior theatre major, demonstrated that perfectly. At the Art Walk, he performed in two separate Improv sketch shows, an a cappella concert, the musical theatre scene showcase, and the Shakespeare monologue session. “The Art Walk went very well this year. There were much more people who were willing to be audience members as the day wore on,” he said of the performances. “During my Shakespeare monologues, I was very pleased with how they went and how the crowd responded to me.”
The Art Walk was also a great experience for people who are new to the campus life. Lea Wantuch, a freshman musical theatre major, had her first Art Walk performance this year. “One of the most memorable parts was seeing the crowd for our musical theatre performances. It was really amazing,” Wantuch said. “The school really came together to appreciate the arts.”
The event allowed creativity to run wild. Between the many stations set up for entertainment throughout the day, plus the added incentives of free food and a raffle for showing up, the 2017 Art Walk was well attended. The rain only threatened part of the morning’s events, and most of the sessions were able to happen outside.
The Art Walk will continue to be an annual event, hopefully for many years to come. Collaboration is key between the departments, and this event demonstrates the beauty that successful collaboration can create. “It’s a great way for students to experience things that they might not normally experience,” Parker Joyce said of the event. “It’s just fun.”