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Nicole Roales
Office of University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2008

IUís annual ArtsWeek celebration examines politics and the arts

Feb. 6, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Get ready for an expressive week as "Politics and the Arts" are explored during the 24th annual ArtsWeek, Bloomington's winter festival of the arts.

ArtsWeek, a collaboration between the City of Bloomington and Indiana University, offers exhibitions, performances, discussions and family-friendly events using many modes of artistic expression. No longer able to contain itself, ArtsWeek now spans 11 days, from Feb. 20 to March 1, with a few events following on March 2.

"The partnership between Indiana University and the City of Bloomington in Artsweek is one of many examples of the energy that animates our glorious tradition in the arts and humanities," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "IU's arts and humanities programs are among the finest in the world, and the City of Bloomington has always encouraged an appreciation of and a participation in the arts within the community."

Among the main features of the festival is the "Writing on the Wall" exhibition at the School of Fine Arts Gallery, opening on Feb. 29 at 5:30 p.m. This campus-community project looks at how public space is utilized as a canvas for political expression. In addition to the work of five local graffiti artists, the exhibition includes several panels that have been stationed around and off campus for passers-by to "tag" with their writings and drawings on the subject of democracy.

During the signature event, attendees will listen to pre-recorded selections from this communal experience. In addition, the five contributing artists will comment on the impetus for their work, and an interactive discussion will take place with a panel of experts including project curator Joe LaMantia; Miah Michaelsen, Bloomington's associate economic development director for the arts; Jon Simons, associate professor in the Department of Communication and Culture; and Michelle Facos, history of art professor. A reception will follow the panel discussion.

As part of IU's Movable Feast of the Arts, the "Writing on the Wall" project also will travel to different campuses throughout the state.

People of all ages will enjoy another headlining event. "Politics on Ice" offers a family-friendly winter treat in the form of ice sculptures carved in People's Park at the corner of Dunn Street and Kirkwood Avenue. Beginning at noon on Feb. 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and Mar. 1, carvers from the Indiana Ice Studio will demonstrate their craft with sculptures related to politics.

A third headlining event will focus on "Censorship in the Arts." Taking place Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. at the Law School, this panel will be moderated by law professor Fred Cate and will include Bruce Fein of the Washington Times; Janet Allen, artistic director at the Indiana Repertory Theatre; and lawyer and IU alum James Fitzpatrick. The discussion will focus on how censorship has shaped public perceptions and artistic expression, and will be followed by a question-and-answer period inviting audience participation and then a reception.

ArtsWeek is sponsored in part with a New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities grant through the Lilly Endowment with additional support from Indiana University and the City of Bloomington.

"Artsweek includes a wonderfully wide range of events this year incorporating visual art, dance, theater, poetry and many other formats," said Sarita Soni, IU vice provost for research. "We are fortunate to have such a strong base of talent and scholarship in the arts and humanities to draw from, both at IU and in the community at large."

Among the many other events are:

  • ArtsWeek High School Art Competition. Held at Tutto Bene at 513 S. Rogers St., this exhibition features the work of high school students in Monroe County who have submitted art related to the theme of "Politics and the Arts." Artwork will be on display from Feb. 27 through Mar. 7. A panel of judges will award cash prizes to the top three student winners. A reception will take place on March 2 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Your Campaign Here. This city-wide outdoor exhibit will explore the use of yard signs as a means of artistic expression. Keep your eyes on Bloomington lawns throughout ArtsWeek for signs that engage the theme of politics and art.
  • Voices of a People's History. An inspiring evening of dramatic readings by local actors, activists and authors will feature the speeches, stories, trials and letters of American history-makers such as Frederick Douglass, Henry Thoreau, Susan B. Anthony, Howard Zinn and Cindy Sheehan. Feb. 20 and 27 at 7 p.m., Bloomington Playwrights Project, 107 W. Ninth St.
  • O Lovely Glowworm. This new play is the unconventional tale of a stuffed goat facing an existential crisis. Written by critically acclaimed playwright Glen Berger, the play has been described as "hilarious and exhilarating" by a reviewer in Portland, where it debuted. Show times Feb. 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, Mar. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb 23, Mar. 1 at 2 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave.
  • Fusion Culture: Transportable Living. This exhibit at the SoFA Gallery, located in Room 123 of the Fine Arts building at 1201 E. Seventh St., contains several environmentally-themed artworks by Sarah FitzSimons. She will open the exhibition with a talk Feb. 22 at noon.
  • The Sorceress, the Servant, and the Stays: Sexuality, Race, and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Britain. University of Illinois historian Dana Rabin will give this talk, followed by a guided tour of the Kinsey Institute's Women of Pleasure exhibition. Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m.: Kinsey Institute Gallery, Morrison Hall 420, 1165 E. Third St.
  • Silence and Explosion: A Salon Event on Politics and the Arts. This afternoon of workshop readings will draw from three contemporary artistic works: Ainadamar, on opera by Osvaldo Golijov about the murder of Federico Garcia Lorca; American Ma(u)l, a satire by Robert O'Hara on the state of race relations in America; and Fronterilandia and Power Tools, a film by Ruben Ortiz with music by guest composer Gabriela Ortiz on the political and cultural implications of the U.S.-Mexico border. Feb. 23, 2:30 p.m.: Sweeney Hall in the Simon Music Building, 100 N. Jordan Ave.
  • The Body Politic -- Dance Performances in Sites that Shape Our Lives. Enjoy a spectacle of dance, music and visual arts in Woodburn Hall, 1100 E. Seventh St., on Feb. 23 at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., and the Monroe County Courthouse,100 W. Fifth St., on Feb. 26 at 11:30 a.m., noon and 12:30 p.m. The history and significance of both sites will be explored in relation to the themes of freedom of expression and equality within a democracy.
  • A Call for Peace: Imagine -- Indiana in Music and Words. Presented by poet Norbert Krapf, pianist Monika Herzig, singer/songwriter Tom Roznowski and special guest writer Scott Russell Sanders, this peace-themed program will include poems recited to music, storytelling in song, readings and visual arts by some of the finest artists and performers in our region. This event is on Feb. 24, 3 p.m. at the John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium, 122 S. Walnut St.
  • Songs of the '60s and '70s that Changed Our World. This lecture by music professor Glenn Gass will be followed by a concert with Janiece Jaffe, Curtis Cantwell Jackson, Dan Sumner and Dave Bruker. It is scheduled for Feb. 24, 4 p.m., at the John Waldron Arts Center Auditorium, 122 S. Walnut St.
  • Conversation with playwright and director Robert O'Hara. African American playwright and director Robert O'Hara will speak about the intersection of art and politics in his work. Particular focus will be given to his play American Ma(u)l, which will be performed by the Department of Theatre and Drama March 21- 29. The talk will take place Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wells/Metz Theatre of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.
  • The Poet & the Emperor: Power and the Arts in Nigeria and Beyond. Nigerian novelist, journalist and IU comparative literature professor Akinwumi Adesokan will read from his novel Roots in the Sky. The reading will be followed by a discussion with Adesokan and fellow journalist and Harvard professor Biodun Jeyifo about the trials and realities of writing under the oppressive Nigerian state during the 1980s and '90s. This presentation will take place on Feb. 25, 5 p.m., at the Lilly Library, 1200 E. Seventh St.
  • Jazz from Bloomington and ArtsWeek present: Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana. Toronto soprano saxophonist, flutist and bandleader Jane Bunnett has built her career at the crossroads of Cuban music and jazz. Twice nominated for Grammy Awards, this virtuoso has turned her bands into showcases for the finest musical talent from Canada, the United States and Cuba. This event is on Feb. 26, 7 p.m., at the John Waldron Arts Center, 122 S. Walnut St.
  • Women in Politics Panel Discussion. Prior to the opening night of Evita at the IU Auditorium, a panel will gather to discuss the historical and present role of women in politics and take questions from the audience. Among the panelists will be Susan Sandberg, City Council member and coordinator of the Arts Administration Program at IU; Jillian Kinzie, chair of the Commission on the Status of Women and IU education faculty member; and Charlotte Zietlow, director of economic development for Middle Way House and former County Commissioner. The discussion is scheduled for Feb. 29, 5:30 p.m., in the Indiana Memorial Union Frangipani Room, 900 E. Seventh St.
  • Second City's "One Nation Under Blog. This politically themed comedy improvisation show will take place March 2 at 8 p.m. in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St.

Most events are free and require no tickets. Tickets for other events may be purchased from individual vendors. For a full schedule of ArtsWeek events and information on tickets, participants, venues and parking, visit