Looking back on Arts@CLAS

Today, all of Colby will be wrapped up in posters and presentations for the all-day academic experience of the Colby Liberal Arts Symposium (CLAS). But this event had a preview event the night before, with performances spread through the Bixler building and the Colby Museum starting at 6 p.m. yesterday. Like CLAS, Arts@CLAS is designed to give students a chance to present their work at the end of the year, but these projects can’t quite fit into a PowerPoint or a poster. Arts@CLAS night is the showcase of student work in the realm of music, art, theater, and dance. From calligraphy to drumming to politically-aware dance routines, Wednesday night featured a kaleidoscope of different talents over an exciting and extensive celebration.

“I think Arts@CLAS is a great opportunity for students in the arts to present their work to members of the Colby community who would not normally experience it,” said Eric Kim ’17, who played the cello in a piano trio that had been practicing since the beginning of the year. The diversity of the acts that were presented, as well as their shorter length, made Arts@CLAS accessible to people who are less likely to attend other arts events. There were events that appealed to students, professors, young family members, and other members of the community, making it an enjoyable way to wrap up a year’s work, as well as a chance to experience and learn from other disciplines in the spirit of liberal arts.

This year, the variety of Arts@CLAS performances was greater than ever. On the student music side, the evening featured several a cappella groups spread out over the night, the Taiko and African Drumming clubs, and a jazz combo. The music department-run events included a piano quintet, trio, and duo, as well as an assortment of other chamber groups, a vocal ensemble, and some Scottish fiddling. The Theater & Dance department had students perform monologues, present about dance research, and danced themselves in tap and feminist routines.

The art department offered art showings, art talks, and art-making opportunities for all ages.  Senior art was displayed, accompanied by a chance to interact with the artists, for the classes in foundations, painting, printmaking, photography, and sculpture. Many of the presentations were in collaboration with other departments, on topics as wide as calligraphy, Russian doll-making, and the new Zao Wou-Ki museum exhibit. Other departments joined in the fun, as well. For instance, Professor Lydia Moland’s Philosophy of Art class was stationed throughout the museum answering questions and giving talks about what defines art. Other classes read creative writing, read in foreign languages, and had audio storytelling.

Arts@CLAS was a diverse, exciting, and most importantly, very liberal arts experience.  The chance to attend each year is an opportunity to see the dynamic work that has been explored throughout the year by students. This event enriches CLAS and the end of the academic year with a lively look at what the community has produced.