Downtown campus gearing up for annual art exhibition

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Art, music, dancing, photographs and much more will adorn University Center and the Downtown campus on Friday at the fourth annual Urban Gallery Exhibition.

The event is a part of “Action, Advocacy and Arts,” an event throughout the day that focuses on community at the Downtown campus, according to a press release. At the exhibition there will be four art collections, including works from Barrett, the Honors College, South Mountain High School, and dance and musical performances on two stages, one inside University Center and one out in Taylor Mall.

Malissa Geer, community engagement liaison for ASU and one of the event’s key organizers, said the event will feature 30 nonprofit organizations. The organizations will have interactive art set ups to showcase what they are doing in the community. Geer said the placement of the nonprofit groups at the event was set up intentionally; it will be a chance for them to network and serve the community more significantly.

“Even if the only guests we have that night are the nonprofit organizations, the impact is immeasurable,” Geer said.

The Downtown Programming and Activities Board will run the outside stage on Friday where performances will range from a hip-hop group to a Brazilian dance group, PAB Downtown board member Aldo Gonzalez said.

“We’re going to make it so that pretty much all the time there’s going to be someone performing,” Gonzalez said.

Performances on the outside stage will begin at 5 p.m., and PAB Downtown will have food and cotton candy at the free event.

Dance junior Whitney Hancock, who helped organize and book dance acts for the event, said the event should be an easy way for anyone to access the community.

“You can look at all the stuff that’s happening in the community all in one place,” Hancock said. “I hope that it opens so many doors for people to get involved.”

Hancock and nine other dance majors have been working with sixth and seventh graders from Neighborhood Ministries for 10 weeks in preparation for a joint performance at University Center on Friday. Hancock said that while the kids are a little shy, she hopes that they gain energy from the audience.

“I just hope that the audience comes with an active desiring to be a part of what we’ve done instead of just watch and be an observer,” Hancock said. “I just have a feeling the girls will feed off of that energy.”

The first Urban Gallery Exhibition was in fall 2006 and was intended as a way for the university to know their new community back when the Downtown campus was first created. Though attendance at the second and third Urban Gallery Exhibition’s fell, Geer said she expects a lot of people to come out.

“This year we’re going all out because we have to redeem ourselves,” Geer said, adding later: “The energy is really immeasurable because if you get one person let alone one organization excited about it then they invite all of their friends and guests because all of these artists I hope feel really proud that they’re showcased at the University Center.”

Contact the reporter at sal.rodriguez19@sbcglobal.net

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