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CultureFest After-Party allows students to explore museum



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The IU Contemporary Dance Movement performs a contemporary rain dance as students awaited for the record-setting rainwork art to be unveiled during the CultureFest After Party Thursday evening at the Indiana University Art Museum. Andrew Williams and Andrew Williams Buy Photos

During CultureFest, outside the Eskenazi Museum of Art, students moved from booth to booth. The sound of drums, upbeat music from around the world and chatter of an excited crowd colored the street as the sun shone through the clouds.

Inside the campus art museum, another celebration was taking place. Here, freshmen and upperclassmen alike explored the gallery with museum passports in hand. Outside each of the galleries was a table with a volunteer ready to stamp each passport, representing a successful trip through a small world of art.

This was just one feature of the CultureFest After-Party, which began at 5 p.m. Thursday at the museum and continued through the evening.

Freshmen such as Victoria Antonini and Claire Liechty completed their passports by wandering the galleries and seeing part of the museum’s vast 45,000-piece collection.

“We actually got invited through the passports and free ice cream, but it’s also a really cool way to see the art exhibits here,” Antonini said.

Overall impressions were positive, Antonini and Liechty, both first-time visitors to the museum, said.

“It’s been really cool. I didn’t really know the different types of art here,” Liechty said.

Along with the existing exhibits was a special exhibition called “Spotlight,” designed to show students some pieces from the museum’s collection that are not currently on display. These included pieces of jewelry as well as traditional art pieces and much more.

Though the noise from activities outside was muted, music played through the atrium as students and local families participated in various crafts. Volunteers with the Lotus Festival led one of these activities, during which attendees could take strips of ribbon to make simple star shapes.

One of these volunteers was senior Izzy Osmundsen who has worked with the Lotus Festival since the summer. The stars created by participants at this table were then placed in a basket in the center, as part of the larger project, “One Million Stars to End Violence.”

“We’re working on a goal of 10,000 stars for an overall worldwide goal of a million,” Osmundsen said. “Each star is your own personal commitment against violence.”

Osmundsen said her coworkers at the Lotus Festival decided to get involved because of the cultural aspect of this project. Maryann Talia Pau, the artist who started “One Million Stars to End Violence” began the movement to spread awareness after one of her fellow community members in Brunswick, Australia, was raped and murdered.

“Being part Samoan, the artist had these weaving traditions passed down by her mother,” Osmundsen said. “She decided to weave these stars, and it’s just a huge project that everyone can get involved with. That really resonated with Lotus’ message.”

At the front of the museum, a massive chalk circle surrounded a sign that read, “Caution, you will get wet.” Another large CultureFest reveal came with the introduction of the largest Rainwork piece in the country near the end of the evening. During this part of the evening, a performance preceded the revealing of the Rainwork. Once water fell onto the sidewalk, the design appeared.

Rainworks are pieces that are invisible when dry and appear when rain or water hits them. A few of these works already decorate some sidewalks around Bloomington, and more are set to appear gradually throughout the fall.

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