UMN ‘World Art Day’ to highlight local art; Black Violin will perform

The April 14 event is a celebration of on-campus and community artistic expression.

“World Art Day” 2016 attendees enjoy the activities outside of Northrop Memorial Auditorium

Maddy Folstein

The Twin Cities are known for their thriving arts scene — and on April 14, theatre, dance and music will converge at the University of Minnesota’s second annual “World Art Day” celebration.

This year’s “World Art Day,” held at Northrop Auditorium, will feature performances and exhibitions from both on-campus and community artists, as well as a concert by Black Violin — an event free for all University students.

“We wanted a big event that would include everyone and anyone on campus,” said Grace Berke, a senior studying English who serves as the Northrop student engagement associate. “We wanted to fill Northrop, this big huge building, with all kinds of things and make the building come alive.”

Last year’s “World Art Day” was the inaugural event for the University Collaborative Ambassadors for Northrop, the student group responsible for organizing student engagement opportunities with the auditorium.

“We saw that [World Art Day] was a date on the calendar, and we thought, ‘Oh, we should do something fun for that,’” said Abby Taylor, a University graduate and the current student engagement coordinator for Northrop.

“World Art Day” is a primarily student-led initiative that requires year-long work with support from Northrop and various departments around campus.

“Our U-CAN team has been hard at work since September,” Taylor, who also worked with Northrop as a student, said. “They’re the core planners and powerhouses behind this.”

Most of last year’s “World Art Day” layout will remain the same for this year’s event.

Student and community groups will inhabit the building and Northrop mall to present throughout the day. An interactive mural created day-of by event participants will also be featured.

This year event has expanded to include workshops for participants, too. The lineup includes a workshop on “Creative Action, Artistic Approaches to Social Justice.”

“Another big highlight is Black Violin’s free concert that will happen that night. We’re super pumped about that,” Berke said. “They’re a hip-hop duo, but they use their violin and viola to make hip-hop.”

The two classically-trained musicians, Kev Marcus and Wil B., met in high school, pursued music at separate colleges and then formed Black Violin, a musical group that blends genres and breaks stereotypes.

“I should probably be playing for the Vikings, but I play the violin,” Kev Marcus of Black Violin said. “Everything that is our entire being breaks stereotypes.”

Black Violin’s goals and history match the mission of “World Art Day,” making the performance a great capstone on the daylong celebration.

“I was one of those kids who was decent in math, OK in English — but I was really good in music, and it gave me so much confidence,” Marcus said. “I think that the more kids that are exposed to us and therefore want to go grab a paintbrush or a violin, the better off we are in the world.”

Whether “World Art Day” attendees are studying an artistic practice or have never touched an instrument, organizers hope that the event will serve to provide dialogue about and a celebration of the campus artistic community.

“A lot of times, students who might identify as artists but maybe more like amateur artists … don’t always feel like there’s a great space for them on campus,” Berke said. “We make an effort to create a space that’s there for artists of all levels.”

What: World Art Day

When: April 14; 1:30 p.m. kick-off, 7:30 p.m. Black Violin concert

Where: Northrop Memorial Auditorium, 84 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis

Cost: $35 (Free for University students)