The inaugural Arts Jam Expo, hosted by the Novel Slam student club, is a weekly event running through April 11 at the Westside campus, said Humanities, Religion and Philosophy instructor Mark Love-Williamson.
The event will provide a sense of community at the Westside campus through artistic expression, said Love-Williamson. It will include a poetry slam, an art exhibit, a storytelling session and live music.
Many students have signed up to participate, but there are still spots available for students to share their works, said Love-Williamson.
“We have a lot of faculty and staff participating, but it’s at least 90 percent students,” he said.
The final event, a storytelling session, was dreamt up by Love-Williamson, he said.
“I’m a storyteller, so I insisted on it. I write adult fairy tales, which means the subject matter is something an adult would understand more than a child,” he said.
One of Love-Williamson’s students, Ralph Romero ,participated the first day by reading an excerpt of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare. Romero will also play traditional folk music on the banjo with his band for the event.
“If you’ve never heard Shakespeare live, it’s really neat because you get it a lot more if you’re listening to it. If you just read it can seem weird and flakey but when you hear people read and act it out, it’s funny,” said Love-Williamson.
He said he encourages teachers to bring their students and wants people to know that the arts are cool.
A class will be performing a short skit that morning and he said people can bring their own story, comedy skit or whatever they want to do for the day.
“Everyone has the ability to be a writer to a certain extent and has their own song or story to tell. Culture doesn’t have to be anything that is inaccessible or elite. It’s also something that we create. We want to encourage people to think that way,” said Love-Williamson.
It is an opportunity to experience being in front of an audience, which is sometimes a scary thing for a lot of people, but it is a good thing to have experience, said Love-Williamson.
Part of the inspiration for the jam was an assignment to his students to expose themselves to a new part or culture. Students can experience what other students are involved in, such as poetry, music or performance, said Love-Williamson.
“Sometimes students need a little push to wrap their head around it — and they might actually like it,” he said.
He has worked with the adviser for the student group, Veronique Kaemerer, for several years in hosting an annual fall event, so this year they decided to collaborate in planning the Arts Jam as well, said Love-Williamson.
The first event at Westside campus by Novel Slam was not very well attended. Over the years the fall event has grown to over 2,000 people performing in and attending over a period of four days.
“In a couple of years the Arts Jam will be the same. Once students realize it’s a regular event and they can just hang out and hear stories or listen to music, then they’ll be all over it,” said Love-Williamson.
For more information or to reserve a spot in an event contact Love-Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org.