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Interactive Programming Helps Bring Art Alive for Students

Christine Clark | November 9, 2009

Photo of MCASD
The Loft partnered with the Associated Students and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego at their downtown location for the return of Thursday Night Thing (TNT).

They've danced with the Jant-Bi Dance Company of Senegal, played drums with Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, and made balloon art with artist Addi Somekh. When it comes to engaging with the arts, there’s no question that UC San Diego students are breaking the barrier between art and artists — thanks to a rich variety of programming options.

Recently, The Loft partnered with the Associated Students and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego at their downtown location for the return of Thursday Night Thing (TNT). TNT events have long promoted interaction between artist and audience and encouraged active learning.

"We’re really excited about the partnership and the opportunity we’re able to give to students," said Liz Bradshaw, The Loft Curator.  "The Loft and ArtPower! are committed, via our programming, to  engaging students and the community in the arts."

Students who bought tickets to the TNT event were transported from campus to downtown, where they saw large-scale installations by artist Tara Donovan, who makes giant sculptures out of ordinary objects, such as straight pins, paper plates, toothpicks, drinking straws and pencils.

Revelle College senior Katie Hall participated in an interactive balloon art-making activity led by Addi Somekh, an artist who makes music with his balloon art creations. “It was amazing to see Somekh’s huge 12-foot cyclops made entirely out of balloons and to hear him talk about how he’s made art in 34 countries across the globe,” Hall said.

“It was one of the best UC San Diego events I’ve ever attended,” she added. “One of the great things was that it was partly designed for transfer and international students who are new to San Diego. It was a good way to get transfers involved, especially now that the new transfer students are living on campus in the Village apartments. Also, TNT is a popular San Diego tradition, so it was really nice to get out and engage with people in the community.”


Recently, students had the opportunity to make music with world-renowned percussionist Cyro Baptista through the Arts6 program, a unique partnership between ArtPower! and Sixth College. The program encourages students to engage with world-renowned artists, such as the Jant-Bi Dance Company and the TaikoProject drummers through discussion, observation and performance. 

Photo of Banquest of the Spirits
"Banquest of the Spirits" performed at The Loft.

Although Baptista started the event by saying that he’s not a teacher, but an artist, it wasn’t long before he taught the room full of students to clap and dance to the rhythm of his music. “

He performed with his Band “Banquest of the Spirits,” which is comprised of musicians who play an eclectic set of instruments. One musician, Shanir Blumenkranz, played a melodica, which is a cross between a harmonica and an accordion.

Baptista encouraged the students to experiment with music and showed them how he uses mundane objects, such as PVC pipe, and flip flops as musical instruments.  “Many of my instruments can be bought at Home Depot,” he said. “You don’t need to be a musician to make music. It should be organic.”

Sixth College freshmen Bryan Ransil said the event inspired him to play his guitar more. “The combination of seeing the band demonstrating their music and hearing them talk about the different instruments really gave me more insight into why they play the type of music that they do. I also love hearing about other cultures”

The Arts6 program not only allows students to get a chance to get up close and personal with artists from around the world, but it also helps them gain exposure to vibrant, challenging, multi-disciplinary and multi-media performances through discounted tickets to ArtPower! events all year long.

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