Elmira is fortunate to be home to a liberal arts college, and one of the most exciting things I’ve witnessed since transitioning from being an Elmira College student to a city community member is how the small, private, unique and beautiful campus has opened its doors more widely to its surrounding community in recent years.
I can point to no better example than Arts Alive, a month-long celebration of the arts that takes place each March.
Arts Alive features an enviable array of offerings, including exhibits, music, open art studios, lectures, plays, film screenings, book signings, poetry readings, dance performances and more throughout the entire month. Every event is offered at no cost to students, employees, alums, donors, and the public.
Try the potter’s wheel during the Art Department Open Studios. Join a blues jam with professors. Explore the beauty of the world’s smallest organisms under a microscope. Enjoy pizza and pie while trying to recite Pi. All sorts of events are offered, both on campus and at off-campus locations through partnerships with venues such as the Clemens Center and the Arnot Art Museum.
You can even run over to the Campus Center on your lunch break from work if you need a little creative fix in your day. Arts Alive included several Arts & Culture lunch sessions this month, including a Dine & Dance session where you could learn Bollywood style dance for an hour with members of Orchesis, the college’s dance troupe, as well as Dine & Doodle and Dine & Design sessions. All of these were sponsored by different college clubs.
I attended Dine & Doodle, listened to a lecture on how doodling actually focuses your mind and is good for your mental health, and created some Post-It art while lunching. The Campus Center Dining Hall takes cash, so it’s easy to pick up something to eat there. I also went back and took a look at the impressive results of Dine & Design: Origami Cranes.
And in partnership with the Arnot Art Museum, the museum is hosting Choice Bits: Selections from Elmira College’s Mark Twain Collection. This is a really cool and rare exhibit featuring items from the college’s archives that are not usually on display, including artistic renderings of Twain, photographs, personal letters he wrote, notes he made in books, and more.
The museum, in keeping with the spirit of the Arts Alive mission to offer events that are free to the public, is waiving admission fees to the entire museum for the rest of the month.
If you haven’t checked out any Arts Alive events yet, there are still a few days of activities left. For more information about what’s on tap, please click here.
And be on the lookout for another full slate next March, the sheer number and variety of these enjoyable and insightful events are something we should all be proud to have here, and to have such easy access to.