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Arts Festival Looking to Create a Fun Time for All

The 15th annual Boston College Arts Festival will feature campus performers and ensembles.

By Rosanne Pellegrini | Chronicle Staff

Published: Apr. 11, 2013

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Boston College Arts Festival honors the University’s Sesquicentennial and pays tribute to the BC motto with the theme “Ever to Create.”

Some 1,000 BC students, faculty and administrators participate in the festival, which takes place April 25-27 this year and will include more than 80 events, most of them free and all open to the public. The festival will showcase artists with diverse talents and highlights performing, visual and literary arts programs and features daily events, exhibits, demonstrations (including some with audience participation), music and dance showcases.

The geography of the Arts Festival will be a little different this year, organizers note. The festival’s traditional hub, the Plaza at O’Neill Library, last year underwent a dramatic refurbishment that included the introduction of green space. According to organizers, “the greening” of the plaza allows for a larger and more streamlined main performance tent, which will run parallel to O’Neill Library.

In addition, the Art Tent will be larger and located in a new venue: on Stokes Lawn, which also will be the site of children’s activities and crafts sales. The tent will include a small stage for more intimate performances and receptions.

A highlight of the festival will be the presentation of the Alumni Arts Achievement Award to Robert Polito ’73, a distinguished fiction writer, poet, biographer and critic known primarily for his work in the film noir and crime fiction genres. Polito, who received the National Book Critics Circle Award and Edgar Award for Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson, will participate in “Inside the BC Studio,” a career-related discussion (modeled after Bravo’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio”) with Professor of English and American Studies Director Carlo Rotella on April 25 at 3 p.m.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our 2013 Alumni Award recipient,” said Associate Professor of Theatre Crystal Tiala, chair of the University’s Arts Council, which organizes the festival. “Robert Polito has built a distinguished career at the intersection of poetry and scholarly literary and cultural studies.” 

Another accomplished alumnus, acclaimed photographer and 2005 Alumni Arts Achievement Award winner James Balog ’74, will return to campus for a screening and discussion of his award-winning documentary “Chasing Ice” on April 25. The event will begin at 7 p.m. with a reception and book signing at the McMullen Museum of Art, followed by the film and discussion in Devlin 008. The event is free, but registration is required [see].

Activities for children and families will be offered on April 27 from noon to 5 p.m., including arts and crafts, children’s story hour, an instrument petting zoo and a performance of “Beauty and the Beast” by students in BC Theatre Department faculty member Luke Jorgensen’s Theatre for Youth class.

Other notable festival events and activities include:

•A production of the contemporary musical comedy “Avenue Q,” which features puppet performers, in Robsham Theater. Professional puppeteers Brad Shur and Roxie Myrhum have collaborated with students throughout the academic year in preparation for this presentation of puppet theater. To purchase tickets, see

• Performances by student a cappella groups whose members prepared for the festival through sessions with the Boston-based professional groups Five O’Clock Shadow and Fermata Town.

• Dance showcases featuring BC faculty and student choreographers and a variety of genres that include salsa, Bollywood, Irish, modern, step and hip-hop.

• Social justice programming under the auspices of BC’s Arts and Social Responsibility Project. Through BC’s Center for Student Formation, a program titled “Stories of Transformation,” will present BC student actors’ depictions of other students’ campus retreat experiences.

• “New Programming: BC Underground,” a collaborative arts event that features what organizers describe as “underrepresented” campus artists: rappers, break dancers, DJs and electronic music artists.

Information on Arts Festival events, activities, times and locations is available at