Art for art’s sake: Live Art 2010

| Scene Senior Editor

In 2009, students participate in the first Live Art event by painting on blank canvases provided for on-the-spot creative expression. Live Art returns this Saturday, April 17.

After the recent Student Union elections, it’s no secret that over-programming has become a significant concern of Washington University students, but one student group will challenge the root of this problem by planning an original and creative event with a strong message.

Drop Knowledge, a fledgling group that promotes creative thought and action, is hosting Live Art on Saturday, April 17, in the Gargoyle. The event will start at 6:30 p.m. and will last several hours; attendees are welcome to come and go as they please. Live Art is meant to get students thinking creatively about campus programming and the world around them. Drop Knowledge P resident Monis Khan, a junior, believes that Wash. U. students are stuck in a rut.

“We have so many resources and wonderful people here, but too many people are happy to do what’s expected of them or what they’re used to,” Khan said. “So many groups just repeat the same programs they did last year instead of trying to get outside the box. People aren’t pushing boundaries anymore—they’re playing it safe.”

Khan’s main objective is to influence other student groups and to make Wash. U. events more meaningful. “Our programming on campus should speak to the present and the future, not to the past,” he said. “Groups need to break out of their past events and try something spontaneous and exciting.”

Khan hopes to bring a new level of involvement and innovation to campus through Live Art. Three different bands will be performing throughout the evening, including an up-and-coming Chicago-based group, Blah Blah Blah, a campus favorite, the Noam Chomskys and a reputable St. Louis hip-hop group, Lavelle Spitz.

Drop Knowledge also recruited two local visual artists to come perform at Live Art. Daniel Burnett and Bradley Pipkin were the first and second place winners of Schlafly Brewery’s graffiti arts contest and will be part of the main attraction at tomorrow’s event. Burnett describes his art as “a combination of traditional and urban influences.” He believes Live Art could be an especially interesting experience for him as he explained that “my artwork is a fickle thing to me at the moment. I feel like I’m not quite mature and still doing a lot of experimenting[…] I simply see it as a means to personal progression.”

This kind of personal progression is exactly what Live Art is all about, according to Khan. “It’s not just about watching the professionals work,” he said. “Watching them just sets the tone, creates an atmosphere, but it’s really about what others do on their own—what people are able to create. It’s going to have a really festive, totally crazy, awesome vibe.”

Live Art is not entirely new to Wash. U., as it was also done last year, but attendees can certainly expect a completely different experience this Saturday. “We’ve added a lot of new elements [to the event],” Khan said. “Since we weren’t an official group last year, we had a lot less resources and a lot less support. We couldn’t draft contracts, so we couldn’t bring in any outside performers… we didn’t have much money, there were just a lot of restrictions. I think we put on a great event last year, but this year it will be something else entirely.”

With $4,500 garnered from class councils, CS40, Student Union, Connect 4 and Amnesty International, Drop Knowledge is providing participants with 150 blank canvases and various art supplies to create their own art on site. The steps of Bowles Plaza will be covered to provide an ideal arena for body painting. There will also be fabric markers for people to create original artworks on clothing and various interactive installations.

“It’s like being back in Kindergarten,” Khan said. “You can just cover every surface in art. You don’t have to worry about being talented, that’s not what it’s about. You can just be in the moment, creating something, expressing something.”

Drop Knowledge focused their efforts on providing an atmosphere in which people aren’t afraid to let go and fully express themselves. Live Art is primarily a fundraiser. The $400 that was collected at last year’s event was given to City Faces, a St. Louis charity program. This year, the group hopes to make even more money and 100 percent of the proceeds from all auctions and sales will go to the Turner Center for the Arts.

Khan hopes that participants will really make the event their own. “The organic element is very important,” he said. “It’s spontaneous expression, so it will hopefully be a different experience for each person.”

Khan hopes this event will reinvigorate the student body and show them what is possible, while simultaneously giving students a brand new look at last year’s Live Art experience. “Basically, it will be a lot sexier than last year,” Khan promised.

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