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An Outburst of the Arts


Students were caught off guard during the last week of classes by random acts of art performed across the campus. Thanks to Artbust, there was a Renaissance arch in the middle of the quad, a marimba drummer in Sykes, a Stomp-like flash mob in the dining hall, Christmas carols outside Watkins, outbursts of poetry around the Diana Fountain, and much more.

"The Artbursts are doing a wonderful thing, which is getting the arts out to a lot of students on campus," said music therapy major Ashley Tisdale, a percussionist from Harrisburg, NC.  "Also, it's so close to finals week, everyone needs time to take a breath."

The idea was to "unleash the arts in unexpected locations and to transform the whole campus into a stage and exhibition space," said creative writing professor Julie Funderburk, director of The Arts at Queens. "We want The Arts at Queens to be visible for everyone in a fun and inclusive way, because the arts are for every person on our campus."

Dr. Lynn Morton, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, thought of it as "an opportunity for the Queens community to have some fun...Folks gathering together to watch a brief performance will build community and camaraderie."

At the same time, she said, "We need to celebrate as a community what an institution of higher education with a liberal arts foundation is all about. It makes us special."

Funderburk added, "Creativity is a vital component of the intellect, regardless of a student's major or career ambitions. Yes, potential employers look for college graduates who can think in the ways that the arts encourage; the arts also provide the opportunity for focus and for self-expression."

The spontaneous bursts of music, visual arts, theater, creative writing, and dance also help students experience the arts in a different way, said Morton.  There's no need to dress up or hush in a dark auditorium because the arts are on the move and everywhere.

Student response was terrific.  Tie-dyed "Wait for it" signs around campus would announce the pending arrival of an Artburst. Tisdale, for one, was shocked to see people actually waiting for her at 930 a.m. in Sykes Rotunda. The senior expected people just to be walking by, but ended up really "putting on a performance."  That was so cool that Tisdale said "I wish we would have it more often."

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