Arts festival to feature lectures, critiques, exhibits and fun

Grambling State University is gearing up for its annual arts celebration, with Children’s Day and activities with world-renowned artist Michael Ray Charles as highlight events.

The Spring Festival of the Arts set for April 12-15 will feature activities by various departments in the College of Liberal Arts, with the Art Department taking the lead role. The Festival on the Green Children’s Day on April 13 will bring to campus children from area elementary schools to participate in arts activities.

Festival coordinator Donna McGee believes this will be the best Festival in the event’s eight-year history on the GSU campus.

“We are excited about this opportunity to celebrate the arts,” McGee said. “We see it as an opportunity to encourage interest in the arts by inviting people of all ages to participate in our celebration.”

The festival is a cooperative event involving the Art, Education, English, Mass Communication, Music, and Theatre departments, with activities designed for elementary, high school and college students, she said.

Artist Charles will lecture in Grambling Hall Auditorium at 10 a.m. April 14. His controversial, graphically styled paintings investigate racial stereotypes drawn from a history of American advertising, product packaging, billboards, radio jingles, and television commercials. He has exhibited at major galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe. His works were a central part of Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled.

Other activities to be featured at the Festival include plays, storytelling, lectures, workshops, a musical concert by GSU students and an art show and competition for high school students.

Femi Euba, a professor, playwright, actor and director of black drama, theatre and classical theatre, will lecture on the Spoken Word from 10:30 a.m. to noon April 15 in the F.L. Sandle Theatre in Dunbar Hall.

Euba also will conduct a playwriting workshop from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 14 in Sandle Theatre. All Festival activities are free and open to the general public except Children’s Day on April 14, which requires preregistration, and the Musical Spectrum on April 14, for which there is a $10 cost for non-GSU students.

In the event of rain, Festival activities will be held in the Men’s Memorial Gymnasium.  

The Spring Festival of the Arts is supported by a grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council, The Louisiana Division of the Arts, the Office of Cultural Development, the Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism, and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.

Sponsors include GSU, City of Grambling, Cooley Printers, Iberia Bank and Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

Working with McGee to organize the Festival were committee members Larry Pannell, Ye Tao, Thomasina White, Geoffrey Rugege, Linda Ward, Sheila Shoemake-Garcia, Wanda Peters, Sandra Lee, Gloria Rabon, Margaret Ellerman, and Yanise Days.

For more information, call (318) 274-3464.

Schedule of events

Tuesday, April 12

11 a.m. ­ The Speech & Theatre Department will present “Miracle Worker,” a play about the life of Helen Keller, in the F.L. Sandle Theatre in Dunbar Hall.

Wednesday, April 13

9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Festival on the Green Children?s Day Booths set up on the green in front of Dunbar Hall will feature projects, demonstrations and artist interaction with the children. Participating elementary schools include Alma J. Brown in Grambling; Ruston Elementary, Cypress Springs and Hillcrest in Ruston; and Crawford Elementary in Arcadia.

Activities by Department:

Art Department: Each child will complete a section of a master artwork copy that will be presented to participating schools for permanent display.

Speech & Theatre Department: Actors in costume will interact with the schoolchildren.

Modern Languages Department: Children will participate in activities with foreign language tutors from Mexico and Cameroon.

Mass Communication Department: Digital photographers will work with the children, taking portraits that will be given to the participants as keepsakes.

English Department: Storytelling activities will be featured. Music from the CD “Tribute to Motown” by the famed GSU Band will be played on loudspeakers on the green throughout the day.

Thursday, April 14

10 a.m. – Lecture by noted artist Michael Ray Charles in Grambling Hall Auditorium. Charles was born in 1967 in Lafayette and graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles in 1985. He received an MFA degree from the University of Houston in 1993 and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin since. His art employs such characters as Sambo, Aunt Jemima and Uncle Tom to comment on contemporary racial attitudes.

1-3 p.m. – Charles will critique the work of GSU art majors, and Randy Hillier with conduct a moldmaking and casting demonstration in the Art Department.

3 p.m. – Charles will conduct feedback sessions with high school teachers and students in the Dunbar Hall Art Gallery.

4-6 p.m. – A reception will be held for the High School Student Show in the Dunbar Hall Art Gallery. Awards will be presented for the winners of the show during the reception.

3-5 p.m. – A playwriting workshop and critique session will be conducted by Femi Euba in the F.L. Sandle Theatre in Dunbar Hall. He has acted and directed professionally in Nigeria, London and the United States and has written plays for BBC Radio. Professor Euba holds a joint appointment in the departments of Theatre and English at LSU.

7 p.m. – A Musical Spectrum concert featuring GSU students will be held in T.H. Harris Auditorium. The event is $10 for general admission and free to GSU students.

Friday, April 15

9-10:15 a.m. -“Colors,” a one-person play be Angelique Burton-Emerson, will be presented in the F.L. Sandle Theatre in Dunbar Hall.

10:30 a.m.-noon – Professor Femi Euba will lecture on the Spoken Word in the F.L. Sandle Theatre.