Columbia Crawl welcomes community

By Ivana Hester

& by Alexandra Kukulka Campus Editor

A flash mob, student performances and galleries were only some of the festivities at the Columbia Crawl that welcomed students to the campus on Sept. 6.

The college’s annual art crawl, which previously featured only gallery exhibitions, was expanded this year to showcase multiple disciplines in an effort to highlight the campus’s broad artistic community. The more than 20 events included the unveiling of a mural on Wabash and Balbo avenues, the Albert P. Weisman Award Exhibition and the Beats and Greets open house for the student-run radio station WCRX-FM.

The goal was to make the crawl an inclusive event that welcomed returning students and invited new students in, said Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs. He said he wants the event to become as central to the college as other annual events, such as New Student Convocation, which ushers in the academic year for freshmen, transfer and graduate students, and Manifest, Columbia’s annual urban arts festival.

“The thinking behind [the Columbia Crawl] is [modeling it after] every strong college community that has its rituals and has its moments when the college community comes together,” Kelly said. “It’s a part of what defines strong

academic communities.”

Students had the opportunity to experience several interactive art exhibits and performances held at various venues on campus and in the streets to give students an idea of what Columbia has to offer, Kelly said.

“Laying Out the Bones: Great Lakes Installation” in the Sculpture Garden at South Wabash Avenue and East 11th Street was a continuation of the One Million Bones project, created by a group of activist artists who held a workshop at Columbia last school year in which students crafted ceramic bones by hand. The installation featured a portion of the 25,000 ceramic bones made in the Great Lakes region, said Neysa Page-Lieberman, director of Exhibition & Performance Spaces. The project’s founders hope to raise awareness of genocide through the exhibits, which will culminate in spring 2013 with the installation of 1 million ceramic bones in the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Peek-a-Boo show, hosted by the Department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences at Stage Two in the 618 S. Michigan Ave. Building, previewed the department’s upcoming events, such as the “I Love the ’90s Tribute Show,” the Cultural Fashion Show and Columbia’s Got Talent.

Another event featured the unveiling of a mural by 2005 alumnus Nino Rodriguez at George’s Lounge, 646 S. Wabash Ave., as part of the Wabash Corridor, a long-term project to promote the college’s presence in the South Loop.

“[The mural] is just like everyone in the neighborhood,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone is a different shade of color, and they all flow in different ways. I kind of wanted to express that in [my] design.”

Ani Katz, a graduate student in the Photography Department, said she enjoyed the Weisman exhibition, which displayed comics, sculptures and other artworks from students who received the award.

“If I were an incoming freshman, I would definitely be excited to get a taste of everything that is going on in the community, [especially] in the arts community, [to] see the different work that students are making,” Katz said.

Emily Love, a freshman arts, entertainment, and media management major, said the Columbia Crawl helped her see what organizations and events are offered on campus.

“This is definitely appealing to my major,” Love said. “I’m trying to pay attention to what is going [around campus] in hope to get my foot in the door.”

In an effort to move forward from last year’s grueling prioritization process, Kelly said he wanted to start the new school year with a bang and welcome back students with a celebration.

“When we become cohesive as a creative community, we become more powerful,” Kelly said. “We offer our students a deepening of their learning, and we encourage a strong student community.”