Inauguration Week Preview

Arts-infused Inauguration Week

By Sally Corbett

The theme for President Jim Wagner’s Inauguration, “Celebrate Emory,” encouraged planners to incorporate all major facets of the University into the festival-like week. The arrival of a leader invigorates the entire academic community—but it especially inspires Emory’s artists, who continually seek out new ways to develop, think, understand, express and create.

Members of the Steering Committee for the Arts at Emory developed the Inaugural Arts Festival plan and coordinated participation by arts departments, programs and organizations. Creative inspiration will abound as the campus is enlivened with theater, dance, textile art, painting, sculpture, poetry, jazz and vocal music.

“The festival provides an opportunity to bring the entire community together for an exploration of the artistic process, a celebration of creativity and fresh dialogue,” said Emory College Senior Associate Dean Rosemary Magee, executive director of the steering committee.

“We thought about organizing a basketball tournament to celebrate the Inauguration,” said University Secretary Gary Hauk, “but figured that folks would be exhausted from ‘March Madness.’”

“Kidding aside, the arts always have been an important part of life at Emory, but never more so than in the last decade, culminating in the dedication of the Schwartz Center,” Hauk continued. “What better way to celebrate the spirit of this community than to show off the lively flourishing of the arts here?”

A highlight of the all-day arts festival on April 1 is “Barenaked Voices: First Annual Emory Student A Cappella Celebration.” The Schwartz Center staff, eight choral and a cappella groups, and Director of Choral Studies Eric Nelson have organized this concert.

“Groups of students, who are together representative of the Emory student body as a whole, are collaborating because of their love of music,” said Robert McKay, Schwartz Center managing director. “We hope the event becomes a new Emory tradition and that we can look back at the Inaugural Arts Festival as its start.”

Another April 1 highlight will be an exhibition in the Schwartz Center organized by Katherine Mitchell, director of the Visual Arts Program. Mitchell said the show is exciting because it will be the first time that Emory faculty and students have exhibited together.

“We hope this will be an expression of the richness of the creative process,” Mitchell said. “We see this exhibition as an opportunity for mentoring and a demonstration of the reciprocal nature of the learning experience. To fully communicate the educational experience that is Emory through inaugural activities, it is important that all three groups—faculty, administration and students—be involved in this endeavor.”

“As a member of one of Emory’s oldest student choral groups, I am thrilled that the [a capella] concert is part of the Inaugural Arts Festival,” said senior Veronica Tinsley, president of Voices of Inner Strength. “Making the arts a part of the week’s activities is an inventive way to express our excitement about our new president. It’s heartening to know President Wagner appreciates student artists.”