April 15, 2011

An Artistic Community: Arts Society Works to Increase Awareness of the Arts On Campus and Beyond

If you’re an art enthusiast at Lafayette, you need to check out Parsons Street.

Since 1987, Parsons Street has been a vital part of the College’s flourishing art scene, mainly because it’s the home of the Arts Society. In fact, 15 Arts Society members currently live in five Arts Houses on Parsons Street, behind the Williams Center for the Arts. It’s a social hub for artists and art-lovers alike, and it represents one of Lafayette’s most dynamic student organizations.

Each year, the Arts Houses residents organize special art events for the College community, and the result has been an impressive roster of parties, performances, and exhibits.

“The main event I was in charge of this year was Caroling on the Hill,” says Mike Follett ’11 (Lebanon, Pa.), a math major and president of the Arts Society. “In December, a group of 20 Arts Society members went Christmas caroling around a number of the houses on College Hill. It’s always enjoyable to watch the faces of small children light up when they hear a crowd of people singing carols at their door.”

Arts Society members have organized trips to Broadway musicals and museums, café nights, poetry readings, concerts, and more. The society’s seminal event is the annual Block pARTy, which takes over Parsons Street each Homecoming Weekend. The event attracts hundreds of visitors who revel in student art exhibitions, music and dance, delectable foods and activities.

Of course, the Arts Society is about more than planning events. It’s also about camaraderie and sharing a passion for the arts with likeminded students of all backgrounds and academic majors.

Andy Feldman ’11 (Middletown, N.J.), a mechanical engineering major and vice president of the Arts Society, is one member of the society who does not study art primarily.

“I have always been involved with music, and I wanted to continue my involvement with it while at college,” says Feldman. “I first joined the Pep Band, and from there I met others who were involved in the Arts Society. I like being on a street with most of my friends . . . The Arts Society helps bring together people with common interests in the arts, and it helps to spread our interests to the rest of the campus.”

Through activities and events, and with the combined energy of 15 arts enthusiasts, the Arts Society has helped increase awareness of the arts on Lafayette’s campus and beyond.

“Since everyone is so busy with academics and athletics, many students forget about the artistic experiences that are freely available to us on campus and just off campus,” says Follett. “Thanks to the Arts Society, we can help bring some of that to the student body, while also taking some students off campus to experience the arts.

“Art has touched every student at Lafayette in one way or another, even if some students don’t even realize it.  With Arts Society, it is our hope to rekindle that magic for as many students as possible.”

For Follett and his fellow Arts Society members, that magic is on display every night of the week on Parsons Street.

“The atmosphere in my house is quite musical.  Andy is extremely good at the piano, and he plays at least a little bit nearly every day. My other housemate, Peter, has piano talent as well, so occasionally he’ll play a little bit. I have, on occasion, played my flute in the house, as well.”

From music to poetry, from paintings to dance, the Arts Society on Parsons Street is ready and waiting to add the magic of art to your life.

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