Amidst a political era that seems to find the fine arts dispensable, the Cornerstone Arts Initiative has transformed Cornerstone into a creative Xanadu. For their 15th annual event, Cornerstone will provide an imaginative space featuring various art performances, lectures, exhibits, and films. This wide array of media comes from students and professionals alike, and it aims to reflect the heart of a specific theme.
Interestingly enough, The Who (you know, the English rock band), were rather instrumental in this year’s theme: “Is it Me, For a Moment?” The theme is a reference to lyrics of their song, “Dr. Jimmy”, from their 1973 album, Quadrophenia. It truly is a beautiful moment in the song when they ask, “Is it me? For a moment, the stars are falling, the heat is rising, the past is calling. Is it me, for a moment?” Through the lens of this theme, Cornerstone Arts Week seeks to explore how different artists experience or interpret a moment in time.
But just what is a moment, and what can one contain? At what point does a moment cease to be the present? These questions have no clear or definite answers, of course. So, as expected, the artistic products of this theme have been exceptionally unique and diverse in format, not to mention the diversity of content. Cornerstone Arts Week includes the collaborative work of multiple departments, such as Theatre and Dance, as well as the I.D.E.A. Space. “This is the time where most of the art departments on campus work together to make stuff happen,” said senior Sophia Capp, one of the event curators.
In addition to student artists and performers, Cornerstone will also display the work of guest artists such as JoAnn Verburg and Miranda July, as well as that of CC Professors, like Steven Hayward and Ryan Banagale.
For the next month or so, the IDEA Space will be the home of Verburg’s photography project, titled “After Before”. Her photographs focus on “the perils and seductions of consumerism” and its impact on global water systems. Using objects found in the famous canals of Venice, Verburg captures scenes of waste and pollution. However, in a second set of images, she expands the scenes to give them new meaning. Her work defamiliarizes and reacquaints viewers with commonplace items in a transformative way.
Unlike Verburg, July’s medium is more film oriented. July is known as an award-winning film maker and best-selling author. Her work is both incredibly insightful and humorous; the screenings of “Lost Child!” (a look inside the mind of Miranda July) and her comedic drama, “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” are sure to evoke both laughter and thought. She is certainly not someone to miss.
Based on their collaborative podcast, professors Hayward (English) and Banagale (Music) will host Critical Karaoke: an evening of music, insight, and banter about the music that inspired this year’s theme. Normally their podcast also includes Idris Goodwin (Theatre), but unfortunately he will be absent for this event. Nonetheless, Capp adds, “It will still be great . . . I think it’s a really cool collaboration of some of the best professors here.”
However, the event that is the most reflective of the theme seems to be the event curated by Capp: “Moment to Moment: A Student Art Experience”. According to Capp, the event focuses on “how can you change someone’s mind in the span of a moment?” The showcase featured a plethora of different student projects – Lukey Walden’s paintings adorned some of Cornerstone’s railed walkways, several dancers performed in the open space outside Celeste Theatre, Catherine Sinnow crafted a narrative around old photos from a Greek wedding, and so much more. While they are all radically different in both medium and content, each piece explores the elements and expression of a moment.
All of the events during Cornerstone Arts Week are open and free to the public, meaning townies are just as welcome as students to experience these artistic moments on campus. Though given the recent political climate and the common conception of Colorado Springs residents, some students may be skeptical of mixing our communities. But they shouldn’t be! “I think it’s really important that we know our neighbors. I think people judge Colorado Springs pretty quickly from its reputation . . . but there’s a massive community of people who love the arts,” says Capp.
“I think now more than ever is a time to create for community gathering. If an event provides different outlets for different groups of people, that’s important . . . But it’s great seeing people come together and just talk,” Capp adds. In this sense, this week couldn’t have come at a better time. Unfortunately, there has been growing intent to defund humanities and decrease the role of fine arts in schools. Luckily for students and the community surrounding Colorado College, the environment is rather constriction free – there are dozens of opportunities to experience the arts. “We’re in a sort-of tumultuous time, whether that’s politically, culturally, or however you interpret that. But [going to art shows] is a form of action. Go, go see art.”