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Melanie Payne
Welcome Week Programs

Gloria Gibson
Multicultural Affairs Office

Last modified: Thursday, August 22, 2002

CultureFest 2002 scheduled as part of IU's Welcome Week

Emmy Award-winning producer Ray Blanco will be the featured speaker at Indiana University's CultureFest 2002 on Aug. 29.

The program will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the IU Auditorium with a video on IU history and culture. This will be followed by remarks by IU Bloomington Chancellor Sharon Stephens Brehm and IU Associate Vice Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs Gloria Gibson, and comments from Blanco on the importance of diversity in college life.

The program, part of Welcome Week activities that begin the school year at IU, is geared to new students but open to the public free of charge. Following the comments from Blanco, participants will exit to the festival in the Fine Arts Plaza. Each of IU's culture centers and other cultural support areas will offer food (free to students attending the indoor portion of the event), activities and information pertaining to the different cultures they represent. There will be live music and dancing that will vary from hip hop to swing and other entertainment.

"The goal of CultureFest is to offer IU students an exciting and enriching afternoon," Gibson explained. "We believe the educational experience of all students is enhanced when students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds work, study and socialize together," she said.

Blanco founded Cutting Edge Entertainment Inc., a production and consulting company dedicated to developing and producing entertaining and socially enriching movies and television programs, including Viva!, the Emmy Award-winning series of specials about Hispanic personalities succeeding in America. Edge also produces the award-winning Biography for A&E Television Network.

"Ray Blanco is considered one of the most influential Latinos in the entertainment industry, and he has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with us," said Melanie Payne, director of Welcome Week programs and co-chair with Gibson of CultureFest. Blanco has received numerous awards and honors from the National Broadcasters Association and was listed among the 100 most influential Hispanics in the country by Hispanic Business magazine.

Sponsors of CultureFest include the IU Foundation, Bloomington Chancellor's Office, Multicultural Affairs Office, Orientation Programs Office, Office of the Vice President for Academic Support and Diversity, IU Auditorium, Office of Communications and Marketing, Residence Halls Association, Union Board, Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations, and Residential Programs and Services.

For more information on CultureFest, contact Payne at 812-855-6189, or Gibson at 812-855-9632,