It's official. Spring has finally arrived at the University, and it's a beautiful thing. The tulips have bloomed, the sun is shining, and a variety of real fruit can finally be found in the dining halls. Besides the culmination of the academic year, the annual Festival of the Arts (FOTA) provides students with one more spring event to look forward to.
Created by the Class of 1963, the Festival is one of the University's most celebrated annual events. The Festival brings together organizations such as University Theater, Major Activities Board (MAB), University of Hip-Hop, and Smart Museum Activities Committee (SMAC)in total, over 450 people will contribute to the Festival. The Festival aims to demonstrate and support the artistic community on campus by providing a forum for students to showcase their talents, creativity, and ingenuity with the hope of encouraging involvement and appreciation of the arts. The University of Chicago Arts Planning Council funded FOTA.
Running from May 21 through the 29, FOTA is an assortment of several events scattered across campus. Claire Mazur, a third-year in the College and member of the FOTA Committee said that this year's schedule was "exceptional" and sure to impress students. "This is a once-a-year opportunity to be entertained absolutely free of cost and without leaving campus," she said.
FOTA officially launches at 9 p.m. tonight at the Smart Museum. "Taisho Chic," an exhibit of early 20th century Japanese art inspired the opening gala, which is being coordinated by SMAC. According to Katherine Robinson, a third-year in the College and co-chair of SMAC, students at the party will have the opportunity to decorate Japanese-style fans. The launch party will also include music by Ladie and a fashion show, which will feature fans and other items inspired by the exhibit.
Summer Breeze will be sponsoring additional events tonight. These include a screening of Office Space on the main quad at 9 p.m. and a dance party in the Classics quad, sponsored by the Council on University Programming, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Summer Breeze continues on Saturday with a carnival featuring WHPK, games, and free food and drinks.
On Saturday evening, students can gather in Hutchinson Courtyard for MAB's annual spring outdoor music festival. The event will feature the music of Jurassic 5; Medeski, Martin & Wood; and Guided by Voices. Tickets have been on sale since Wednesday, May 12 in the Reynolds Club and cost $15 for students and $20 for staff. Many students, including Russell Funk, a first-year in the College, are looking forward to this concert. Funk was particularly excited by the prospect of listening to Jurassic 5: "Jurassic 5 is the best thing to hit the U of C since Bartlett introduced frozen breadsticks at the pasta bar."
FOTA continues Sunday afternoon in Bartlett quad with demonstrations, workshops, and performances of hip-hop art sponsored by the University of Hip Hop. According to Magdalena Gross, the club's minister of collaboration, the University of Hip Hop promotes tolerance and cultural awareness by bringing visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and spiritual artwork to people of all ages and backgrounds.
"The idea is to underline that art, music, and dance are all processes of learning," Gross said.
Students can return to the Smart Museum on Monday at 5:30 p.m. to listen to a talk from Kim Rorschach, the director of the Smart Museum, and Susanne Ghez, the director of the Renaissance Society. Jacqueline Terrassa, education director and advisor to SMAC, said she was personally looking forward to the talk. Terrassa said both women are "amazing leaders and internationally-known directors who are extremely approachable and smart."
Hutchinson Courtyard will again feature live music Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Tuesday's outdoor concert includes Spooning with Nora, The Stare, and The Soft Addictions. Wednesday's concert will feature the music of Twelve for Nine, Eli "Paperboy" Reed, and Sean Coleman. Additionally, the Noontime Noise Concert Series will bring a capella to Hutchinson Courtyard on Thursday and Friday.
University Theater will be performing Aphra Behn's The Rover Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 p.m.
Cult of Beauty will be performing all day on Saturday in the main quad.
Other FOTA events include an electronica concert on Saturday night in Ida Noyes and a performance by UC Dancers on Sunday, also in Ida Noyes Hall.
For a complete schedule of FOTA events, students can consult one of the many posters pinned to kiosks and bulletin boards across campus or log onto fota.uchicago.edu.