ArtPower at UCSD hosted an event entitled “Celebrate the Arts at Welcome Week” last Thursday, Sept. 22 on the Sun God Lawn. The event was free for students and featured a number of live musical performances, including Chicano Batman, a four-piece band from Los Angeles which performed at last year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and toured with the likes of Jack White and Alabama Shakes.
The event came about as a result of a joint effort between ArtPower, the various arts departments at UCSD and the La Jolla Playhouse. Associate Director of Artistic Planning and Education at ArtPower Molly Clark told the UCSD Guardian that the event aimed to raise the profile of the arts on campus.
“As you know, we’ve never done anything like this,” Clark said. “It seemed like a missed opportunity during Welcome Week to have an event that really showcased the artistic resources on campus for students, whether they’re an arts major or not.”
In choosing the finale artist, Clark cited Chicano Batman’s unique sound and cultural background as factors in the decision.
“I think they’re really charismatic performers,” Clark told the Guardian. “They’re unique, they’re from the LA area, but also one of the things that drew us to Chicano Batman in particular is … at UCSD we’re always striving to be more diverse, and this was a chance for us to represent Latino artists on stage to reflect some of the populations that are underrepresented on the UCSD campus.”
In addition to the live musical performances, a number of arts departments and student organizations set up tables and provided students with information regarding programs they offer throughout the year.
Sheena Ghanbari, program promotion manager at the department of visual arts, told the Guardian that the arts receive support when awareness for specific events increases.
“I think that once people found out about the different events, we’ve had a lot of positive reinforcement from artists going to different exhibitions [and] reaching out to students to come to their shows.”
Ghanbari also noted that hosting such events on campus can help dispel the notion that UCSD is a STEM-only university.
“I think something like this that’s visible on campus aims to try and get people who may not have known where different art spaces are to learn about them, and potentially even think about majoring in them or minoring in them,” Ghanbari said. “So things like this are trying to bridge that mentality that this is a STEM-only [campus], that there’s room for … arts on campus.”
In addition to the Welcome Week event, ArtPower is active throughout the year in procuring artists from a variety of disciplines, including music, film and dance.