Performing and visual arts at Augustana are no longer being kept behind closed classroom doors.
“pv (Performing and Visual) Arts Alive!” is the brainchild of several arts faculty members as a designated time for Augustana’s staff and student artists to perform or create in a public setting. The weekly event takes place in the Center for Visual Arts’ atrium every Thursday between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m. Attendees are invited to bring their lunches and friends with them.
“This is typical of what you would play for a gallery opening or a reception—people kind of visiting and having lunch, but listening to you,” said harp instructor Anna Vorhes. “I think we tend to get real formal here, and I think there’s a time and place for something less formal.”
Previous “pvArts Alive!” participants include Vorhes, guitar instructor Geoff Gunderson, bass instructor John Casey, student pianist Anu Uranchimeg and associate professor of art Lindsay Twa, who conducted a gallery tour.
“We asked the theatre to do some similar things. We’d love them to share part of the creative process that goes into making [productions] happen, and maybe do just a snippet of it,” Scott Johnson, chair of the music education department, said. “The sky’s the limit.”
According to Brad Heegel, coordinator of marketing and development for the performing and visual arts, the idea for “pvArts Alive!” originated from a department-wide desire to make the arts “more accessible” for Augustana affiliates who are not normally involved in the college’s artistic programs.
After the music department placed its new Steinway piano in the atrium, he said, the idea “came to life.”
“I maintain that people don’t always attend things, because, in many cases, they don’t understand artists and how they work—and that can be intimidating,” Heegel said. “So if we break down some doors, maybe we [can] get more people involved.”
The non-traditional venue also provides arts students with more creative freedom than they are usually provided in classroom, recital or studio settings.
“We’re saying, why don’t you do something that we don’t know is part of your talent?” Johnson said. “Something that is, maybe, more fun? Something that you’re not worried about receiving a grade for, but just something you really want to share? The idea is: how do we celebrate? Because that’s actually what art is about.”
According to Vorhes, the art departments hope that “pvArts Alive!” will be a long-term event.
“I’d love to see some dramatic readings,” she said. I’d love to see somebody who’s doing a lot of writing come in and talk about the writing process and read about their writing. This is the arts. It’s not just music.”
What’s more, “pvArts Alive!” Thursday sessions are available for more to participate in.
“We still have lots of open spots the rest of this fall and into the spring,” Vorhes said. “I’ve got ideas of things, and I’ve got a few people committed, but it keeps building. Please come and share your art, whatever your art is.”
Augustana affiliates with an artistic talent that they would like to share are encouraged to contact Vorhes. She requests an informal audition, which can be set up by either calling her campus phone at 605-274-5412 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.