2018 Fall Arts Celebration to offer art, music, poetry to GV students

By Arie Nienhuis | 8/21/18 11:48am

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Scarber Author Jeffrey Chang speaks about his book about race in America today October 9, 2017.   GVL / Spencer


For years, the Grand Valley State University Fall Arts Celebration has been a massive annual series of art in all forms. With events such as art exhibitions, concerts and lectures, the celebration has steadily provided enriching cultural experiences to anyone attending. The 2018 series is no exception, as the upcoming events aim to offer a variety of fantastic experiences to anyone interested.

This year’s events include a classical music performance from the Tesla Quartet, a “celebration of African dance” from Kariamu and Company, and a lecture from accomplished author William Deresiewicz and literary critics. The Fall Arts Celebration also features an art exhibition, as well as a set of poetry readings from Ada Limón and Carl Phillips. 

The featured art exhibition of this year’s event is “Mars: Astronomy and Culture” and is the first event available for the public to attend. The exhibition focuses on the planet Mars, as well as the numerous scientific and cultural effects the planet has had on modern society. Joel Zwart, Curator of Exhibitions at GVSU, explained the content of the exhibit will reach beyond a physical embodiment of Mars. 

“The exhibit combines both cultural and scientific depictions of Mars. There will be pictures of Mars, but there will also be objects associated with it,” Zwart said. “Martians and aliens, for example. That narrative comes from Mars itself. You’ll also see a movie poster from 'War of the Worlds' as well as memorabilia from the film.”

Aside from the fascinating nature of the content itself, Zwart sees the exhibit’s crossover of science and art as being a major appeal for many students. 

“A geology student will be interested in Mars itself, a visual studies student could be interested in the art, and a pop-culture focused student could be interested in some of the other content," Zwart said. "Mars is fixed into humanity, and has been for many years. It symbolizes the next place to go to.”

“Mars: Astronomy and Culture” is just the first event for students to experience in the upcoming Fall Arts Celebration, with many more to follow. One event that many students may be interested in is the poetry reading taking place in October. The reading will feature acclaimed poets Ada Limón and Carl Phillips.

Both Limón and Phillips have authored numerous books of poetry and have been the recipients of many awards and recognition for their work. The upcoming event will feature both of these poets going through a number of readings as well as hosting a book signing and reception. 

“Poetry really needs to be heard live, as opposed to reading off of a page,” said event coordinator Patricia Clark. “You get to hear the rhythm of the person’s voice and often mention a few anecdotes on the experience behind the poem. You get things that are not in the book.”

“Mars: Astronomy and Culture” will be available for viewing from Aug. 24 to Oct. 31 in the Haas Center for Performing Arts, and the poetry night will take place on Oct. 18 in the L.V. Eberhard Center.

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