Fisk holds annual Spring Arts Festival

Barbara DuMetz photo courtesy of the artist.

Barbara DuMetz
photo courtesy of the artist.

Celebrate the 85th annual Spring Arts Festival at Fisk University March 27 through April 6. The theme for this year is ‘Fisk and the Arts: A New Renaissance.’ The annual Spring Arts Festival is an established tradition at Fisk University.

Over the years, guest participants have included such luminaries as Countee Cullen and Robert Hayden who shared their poetry, Arthur Spingarn, Martin Luther King, Jr., Pearl Buck, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Margaret Walker, Carl Rowan, Ossie Davis, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier and J. Mason Brewer. These luminaries have been among the convocation and seminar speakers. Musicians have ranged from Roland Hayes, Philippa Duke Schuyler and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra to Miriam Mekeba, Quincy Jones and Cannonball Adderly, with dancers representing the Pearl Primus, Jose Limon and Jean Leon Destine Dance Troupes.

Items from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, paintings by Aaron Douglas and other members of the Fisk faculty, portraits by Carl Van Vechten and works by Elizabeth Catlett have been displayed at the Library, Livingston Hall and in later years, the Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery.

The festival began March 27 with the opening performance by the Orchesis Dance troupe, performing in concert in the Fisk Chapel. This performance will continue at 7 pm through Saturday, March 29. On Sunday, March 30, the University Choir will present a concert at 7 pm in the Fisk Chapel.

On Monday, March 31, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Cyrus Chestnut will perform at 7 pm in the Chapel. The Student Art Show opens in the Aaron Douglas Gallery with a reception at 10 am on Thursday, April 3.

The Fisk Stagecrafters’ Production of The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, opens Wednesday, April 2 with a 10 am performance, also running Thursday at 7 pm and Friday, April 4 at 3 pm in the Little Theatre on campus next door to the Van Vechten Gallery. The production is directed by Persephone Felder-Fentress.
Fisk Alumna Nikki Giovanni will be featured in an ‘Afternoon Chat’ at 1 pm, and ‘An Evening with Nikki Giovanni’ at 7 pm on Thursday, April 3 in the Appleton Room, with a reception immediately following.

On Friday, April 4, a reception for Fisk alumna Barbara DuMetz will be held at 5 pm in the Van Vechten Gallery. DuMetz is an internationally renowned photographer whose work has been featured in well-known print advertisements and galleries for decades. Selections of her work will be on exhibition in the lower level of the Van Vechten Gallery.

“The art and craft of photography has permeated our society in many ways,” said DuMetz. “Many people have taken part in picture making and have used photography as a tool to archive and document life as we know it. Photographic images have shaped social, political and economic views around the world.

In 1924 Alfred Stieglitz, one of the most influential men in photography, was the first to have his photographs exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was at this time that photography began to gain acceptance as a true art form. In the digital manipulation of photographic images using software such as Photoshop, the question of true authorship leaves room for much discussion.”

The internationally renown Fisk Jubilee Singers, recipients of the National Medal of Arts and recent Grammy Award nominees, will be featured in concert as the grand finale event on Saturday, April 5 at 7 pm in the Fisk Chapel.