With performances everywhere from the Bryan Center to the C1, the Duke Arts Festival made its mark this year.
The two-week festival that concluded Sunday featured music, student dance performances, poetry readings, visual art displays and theatrical performances. Previously a weekend-long event, this year’s celebration was extended to enable students to work more closely with the arts departments and plan spontaneous performances throughout campus, said Scott Lindroth, vice provost for the arts.
One such event was Defining Motion’s performance in the Marketplace. Lindroth said the idea behind holding these events in high traffic areas was to bring performances to the students rather than expecting that all students would attend the events.
“It makes you think a little differently about what’s taking place at Duke as we see students practicing music, dancing and art,” Lindroth said. “I think that’s a great thing to be able to show the community.”
As opposed to last year, the festival also coincided with student theater productions. Hoof ‘n’Horn’s “Into the Woods’” was sold out every night, and the Department of Theater Studies’ production “The Beatification of Area Boy” was also successful, he added.
Other features of the festival included a poetry reading by U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, a film showcase on the Main Quadrangle and musical performances by the Duke University Percussions Ensemble on Duke’s buses. The impromptu concerts generated mostly positive responses from passengers, who were at first confused but then were smiling and clapping for the group, said DUPE President David Song, a senior.
“There’s an art to picking the correct bus,” Song said of the performances. “We don’t want to pick a bus that’s too crowded, but at the same time not one where we’re outnumbering the people.... It [also] depends on how everyone reacts as a group.”
A group of 30 arts-affiliated alumni from across the country also returned to Duke during the festival as a part of the Duke Entertainment, Media and the Arts Network, said junior Jonathan Lee, a member of DUU’s Visual Arts Committee. Lee, who was responsible for marketing the festival, said the alumni held panel discussions about careers in the arts, though student turnout was relatively low.
Lindroth added that he does not want the arts to go away just because the festival is over. He said he is already planning ways to improve both next year’s festival and the University’s arts culture in general. In future years, Lindroth said he hopes the festival can find ways to expand, such as by holding more formal screenings of student films in indoor facilities like Griffith Theater.
“Trying to keep track of so many moving parts was tricky,” Lindroth said. “Because of the expanded scope of the festival, it was a lot more work for my office. Coordinating, marketing and putting up show in the Bryant Center is a gigantic task.”
Lindroth is also seeking to showcase more art on campus. A mural is currently being painted for one of The Perk’s walls that will consist of a series of frames containing poetry, paintings and pictures related to some of the collections in Perkins Library. He hopes to expand the mural initiative to the Bryan Center sometime in the Spring.