The return to “normal” life is an art many of us are still learning.
This year’s Arts Everywhere Day on April 8 aims to recognize and examine that collective challenge through an array of interactive art experiences, pop-up performances and exhibits on campus. Hosted by Arts Everywhere, the day will revolve around the theme of “grounded growth” and bring art to nearly every corner of Carolina.
The annual celebration is the marquee event for Arts Everywhere, an initiative launched in 2016 to invest in the interdisciplinary benefits of the arts.
“The intention with Arts Everywhere was to create that catalytic effort to galvanize all of the creativity on campus, not necessarily arts for art’s sake — although that’s very important,” says Arts Everywhere Executive Director Alison Friedman.
Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself an artist. For one of the events, all you need to do is scream.
Among the several exhibits and experiences will be “The Big Scream,” which invites the campus community to share what many have been keeping inside for months: pain, relief and joy.
“I think we could all use that sort of release and scream from the last two years,” says Crystal Wu, marketing and development communications manager for Arts Everywhere.
The sixth annual Arts Everywhere Day’s programming – showcasing the arts’ return to campus – is designed to be encountered easily and engage the wider community.
“[It’s] supposed to be just like one giant creative interruption,” says Kathryn Wagner, the associate director for Arts Everywhere.
Those creative interruptions on your everyday route through campus will include a 1,000-pound iguana sculpture crafted from recycled materials and designed through an Arts Everywhere partnership with the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies.
The Arts Everywhere team is most looking forward to the reveal of the I Was Here: Postcards from the Pandemic project.
Launched in March, the program aims to create space for Carolina staff members to reflect on their pandemic experiences by decorating a postcard. The project is sponsored by the Staff Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, Human Resources and University Libraries. The groups hosted workshops throughout the last month at the Ackland Art Museum and the Morrison Art Studio.
“It’s really easy to get caught up in the energy of a semester, trying to just keep going during a pandemic,” Wagner says. “You keep your walls up. You try and just keep your head down and focus on the task.”
Wagner says she has seen the project make an impact on people and is excited for its exhibition on Polk Place on Friday and its eventual adoption into the special collections at Wilson Library.
Whether you join others in a scream, smile at a pop-up musical performance or get paint under your fingernails, Arts Everywhere Day invites you to take a pause.
“Use this day as a reminder for how to ‘human’ a little bit,” Wagner says.