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BU Arts Initiative hosts its annual arts fair, bringing Boston arts community together

After shifting to a virtual arts fair last year due to the pandemic, Boston University Arts Initiative is bringing its in-person annual BU Fall Arts Fair back this Friday, Sept. 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the George Sherman Union Plaza.

George Sherman Union entrance
The George Sherman Union. The BU Arts Initiative will host the in-person 2021 Fall Arts Fair alongside BU Arts Programs and other Boston area arts organizations this Friday at the GSU. THALIA LAUZON/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Open to all students, the fair is a chance for BU departments and other programs to reach student artists and interns. The fair was designed to present arts-related opportunities happening throughout the year available to the BU community, including programs outside of BU, said Ty Furman, the managing director of the BU Arts Initiative.

“It really is both a celebration and an information-sharing opportunity largely targeted toward students,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that faculty and staff can get out of it, too.”

The Wheelock Family Theatre is a BU program that has been performing since 1981, and it’s the third year that they’ll have a booth at the fair. Jenna Corcoran, marketing coordinator of the theatre said the company is looking to work with BU students in addition to the graduate and design students who work behind the scenes on productions.

“We are called the Wheelock Family Theatre because we really serve people of all ages,” said Corcoran. “We have programs that are geared towards younger kids and then college students, all the way to adults.”

Wheelock Family Theatre decided to participate in the fair because they are really excited about “getting to know the BU community more,” and working more with student organizations, Corcoran said.

“We really love working with BU students, and it’s really in our mission to serve all ages,” she said, “and that means serving them from the producing side but also serving from an education standpoint as well.”

Another BU department participating in the fair is the History of Art and Architecture, which promotes “a holistic interpretation” of art and architecture in general, by looking at all kinds of art styles, including western and non-western art, said Gabrielle Cole, an administrator and graduate of the department.

This is the History of Art and Architecture department’s first time hosting a booth at the arts fair. Cole, who is also a graduate of the program, said she hopes joining the fair will help students get an understanding of the department.

“I’m hoping we get a decent amount of people coming by,” Cole said. “Since I graduated from the program I think it would be really nice to be able to offer my perspective on what it was like to be in the program as an undergrad.”

Rozime Lindsey, a junior in the College of Fine Arts studying voice performance and music education, said he was surprised to see the number of students interested in the arts at a research institution.

“It’s so vibrant here and more people do art on BU’s campus than we think,” Lindsey said. “That’s why we’re having this fair because there’s so much offered, and there’s so much to give that BU students always thrive to.”

In addition to BU-affiliated programs, Boston-area arts organizations are also joining the fair. Jean Appolon Expressions, a contemporary dance company that focuses on Haitian cultural dance, is participating in the fair for the first time.

At the fair, the organization is looking forward to providing information about their programs, such as a variety of studio dance classes, said Meg McGrath, the executive director of JAE. Two classes JAE plans to promote to BU students include a Haitian folkloric class and a dance cardio class focused on African music.

“[Haitian folkloric class] is accessible for all ages, all movers,” McGrath said. “We have dancers and non-dancers alike at that and it’s just a lot of fun. Some people even just come to watch, so we’d love to have some BU students at that.”

Through the arts fair, McGrath said that JAE wishes to expand its reach as an organization of diversity in the arts and culture of Boston.

Furman said that as museums and concerts come back to Boston, the fair is a way to present those opportunities to students.

“I hope they get really excited about all the things they can do and how much is available to students for free,” he said. “We hope people really come out and enjoy and learn about something new they maybe didn’t know about and get excited about arts and creativity.”

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