Art is all around us

The Arts Quarter Collective offers the absorbing “ARTSmosis”

Niels Strandskov

On Friday, dancers will commandeer the skyways between Blegen Hall and the Social Sciences tower. There will be a large metal cage erected along 21st Avenue, and tap dancers will kick up a storm on the steps of Rarig Center.

In the words of Ben Rasmussen, a dance student and one of the organizers of “ARTSmosis”: “People will definitely notice.”

ARTSmosis is a project of the Arts Quarter Collective, a group of students from the various art schools that make up the University’s West Bank Arts Quarter. Now in its fourth year, the collective is promoting ARTSmosis not only for its ability to garner attention but also for the project’s potential as a collaborative effort.

The dozen smaller pieces that together form ARTSmosis are intentionally diverse. The performers and creators, all of whom are University students, were required to submit projects that offered a partnership between at least two distinct artistic disciplines.

A portable gallery by Patty Healy-McMeans combines the work of visual artists, dancers, musicians and actors. The gallery, which takes the form of a bound volume, includes a CD-ROM with performances and writings about the individual pieces. It will be distributed at the event.

The closing act will be a dance-and-music presentation conceived by Kalena Miller. “Footlight Parade” features three tap dancers, percussionists and horns on the plaza outside Rarig Center.

“Anyone who walks by can stop and see what’s happening” Rasmussen said. The potential for “breaking down the ‘fourth wall’ ” by “taking things into the street” was at the top of the collective’s agenda for this project, he said.

As many of the programs that have happened in the West Bank Arts Quarter over the last year, the possibilities inherent in coordinated group efforts are both a major theme and a major impetus for this event.

“As soon as you’re forced to collaborate, you find new ways to function,” Rasmussen said. “You get to see something that’s never happened before.