A festive, tailgate-like party atmosphere filled the University of Houston's Fine Arts Quadrangle Tuesday afternoon at the third annual Arts Open House, which proved that the Cougar campus is alive with fresh, innovative artists with a bright future.
Clusters of quartets and experts in the arts represented their respective schools, enlightening students, alumni and Houstonians alike about what’s to come in the way of arts during the school year. Although the many of those in attendance were students who seemed interested in free refreshments, the open house, presented by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, proved to be an entertaining ensemble of artists, musicians and writers.
“Every [building] is within walking distance, so people can come to the art museum, then see a show at the theatre all in the same evening. There aren’t many parts of Houston like that.”
Mitchell Center director Karen Farber said the event was intended to resonate a message of unity within the Fine Arts departments, and the city as well.
“We are trying to enliven this part of campus and make it a regular destination for students, alumni and the public, so they can get more familiar with where the buildings are and how to get here,” Farber said. “Every [building] is within walking distance, so people can come to the art museum, then see a show at the theatre all in the same evening. There aren’t many parts of Houston like that.”
A demonstration by second-year Master of Fine Arts student Chuck Ivy properly summed up the event. Ivy, a quintessential interdisciplinary artist, showcased a marriage of music, movement and graphic design in his three-dimensional electronic demonstration entitled Infrared Musical Activity. He developed his theremin-inspired musical video/electronic project by manipulating a Kinect video camera to play like a piano upon movement in front of a 3-D TV. Ivy plans to enter his project in the Supercomputing Conference this November in Seattle for competition.
As the UH Jazz Quartet, Flute Quartet and Men’s Choral Ensemble performed around the Quadrangle, student guides offered tours of the university’s public art, Opera House and Wortham Theatre.
Though he’s not an art authority, UH engineering and technology student Jason Levins said that he attended because he is interested in the robust art culture at the university.
“I’m interested in art because I think there’s something magical about it, although I don’t always understand it,” he said.
With the help of knowledgeable student tour guides and artists explaining their plans for the upcoming year, Levins and others on the tour were able to get a much better understanding of what UH has to offer — and the story behind the art.