Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School Resolution: Attend more cultural events

by Elizabeth Hellstern

NAU Art Museum presents the Fifth Biennial National Print Exhibition, Aug. 24 – Sept. 25 “Peddlers” by Yuji Hiratsuka, 24"x 32", intaglio, chine-collĂ©

Today is the first day of school. All the new students are here, the professors are slinging out syllabi like Las Vegas card dealers, and everyone is learning about the requirements for their classes, their work schedules and their social lives.

I've spent my entire summer collecting, editing, printing and talking about the 150 plus events that the College of Arts and Letters is putting on this semester. So I suppose I'm a little biased when I consider what students SHOULD be doing--going to cultural activities!

I recently heard some statistics from the National Endowment for the Arts. They say that only 34.6% of Americans attended art exhibits or performances in 2008. In one full calendar year, 65% of Americans were unable to make it to a cultural event even ONCE!

I wish I could tell every one of those people what they're missing.

For instance, at the College of Arts and Letters...

We have FILM; a new film series on Wednesdays-- the NAU International Film Series, a Fashion Film Festival (Oct. 9), as well as the ongoing and popular College of Arts and Letters Film Series.

We have MUSIC; the Horizons Concert Series with two American programs in September, an NAU Opera Scenes performance on Sept. 12, and a Faculty Artist Series with Louise and Frank Scott, Jacquelyn Schwandt and John Masserini on Sept. 7.

We have THEATRE and SPEAKERS; Luis Valdez, author of "Zoot Suit" and "La Bamba" will be speaking on Oct. 19. And the Harry-Potter-naked-play, as I affectionately call "Equus" will be performed this season, as well.

And, of course, we have ART, with the first show at the NAU Art Museum, the 5th Biennial Print Exhibition. A reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 2, 5-7 p.m.

With all the events happening on-campus in September alone, Flagstaff could probably change the national statistics by October. I'm not even mentioning the other cultural offerings that Flagstaff provides, such as FSO, Theatrikos and First Friday. There's really something for everyone, every week, every day.

I think it's a good time for a back-to-school resolution, and I will start. I resolve to attend or participate in a cultural happening once a week throughout the semester, and I will write about my musings every Monday on this blog.

And maybe I'll catch you at the NAU Art Museum opening, wearing my hat.