BSU hosts Black Arts Festival

By Meghan Finlayson

The Black Student Union (BSU) hosted its first annual Black Arts Festival last week, culminating in a block party at Gerhard Fieldhouse on April 24.

Beginning on April 22, the festival featured a Student Art Exhibition, an opening luncheon, a dance workshop, a poetry reading, a church service and keynote speaker, Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University.

The block party centered around a basketball tournament and included many performances exhibiting different types of black arts.

“A range of black arts on display is something that we haven’t seen here,” faculty advisor James Peterson said.

BSU is a group for students whose backgrounds and perspectives are representative of the Black Diaspora, though anyone may join regardless of his or her background.

Concession stands sold snacks including pizza, fries, cotton candy, funnel cakes and snow cones to approximately 200 guests.

“We had people from Bucknell as well as local colleges and universities attend the block party. In addition, between 20 and 25 alumni were back on campus, and with accepted students weekend so there were many prospective students, along with parents and families in attendance,” faculty advisor Jessica Hess said.

Face painting, henna tattoos and inflatables were available to all guests and handmade arts and jewelry were sold.

The Greek step showcase featured four different Greek organizations from the University, Bloomsburg University and Penn State University.

“Everyone in the stepping and talent showcases seemed really passionate about being there. I also thought the handmade jewelry was really interesting,” Katie Monahan ’13 said.

Activities and Campus Events (ACE) co-sponsored a performance by comedian Troy Thirdgill. In a talent showcase, students danced, sang and played piano. Student disc jockey Jamal Stith ’11 performed along with DJ Webstar.

Despite the pouring rain, students believe the event was very successful.

“I have gotten lots of feedback and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. They are looking forward to the festival next year and plan on making it even bigger and better,” BSU president Marissa Calhoun ’10 said.

The festival concluded on April 25 with a brunch in honor of Leslie Patrick, the University’s first black tenured female professor.

“BSU kept academics and culture central to the Black Arts Festival, and it was great to see Bucknell as a community have interactive programming that’s fun, interactive and powerful,” Peterson said.

Next year BSU will continue its efforts and hopes to enhance diversity and bring the campus community together through its annual events and programs.

“We will continue with the Black Arts Festival and do some partnering with other divisions across the University. BSU has been talking about collaborating more for academic symposium while continuing with awareness programming through events such as our annual Kwanzaa celebration,” Hess said.

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