If you’re an incoming freshman, you’ve only been at Wesleyan for a few days, but no doubt you’re looking forward to the year ahead. Good news for you, then: the University has a pretty dynamite arts scene no matter what you’re looking for, be it film, music, theater, or studio art. Yet in such a varied artistic environment, it can be easy to get overwhelmed in the thick of it all. To help you navigate everything the University has to offer, we’ve highlighted some great things to expect from the fantastic arts scene here.
It’s no secret that the University has a killer music scene, and the wide range of concerts from student and non-student bands and will make anyone’s weekend far from boring. On the local side, there is a flourishing and ever-growing cadre of student bands and a cappella groups that has ample opportunities to perform at Eclectic, WestCo, and Buddhist House, among other venues. If you’re looking for more established musicians, acts like How to Dress Well, Danny Brown, and Girls’ Christopher Owens have given stellar on-campus shows. Topping it off is the annual Spring Fling; past performers have included Big Boi, Wavves, and, last year, Kendrick Lamar. Needless to say, if you’re a weathered music enthusiast or even just a casual listener looking for something more, the campus will keep you endlessly enthralled.
The University also boasts a solid offering of theater, spearheaded by the Second Stage theater group. An always incomparable selection of student-run shows makes the experience a true delight both on the stage and in the audience. With past performances of student-written and directed plays along with plays such as “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Eurydice” and future performances of “Avenue Q” and “Antigone,” the slate of shows is ever-changing and utterly intriguing. Students interested in other types of performances can take part in Wesleyan’s burgeoning comedy scene, with improv group Gag Reflex and stand-up collective Punchline building sizable presences on campus.
The Film Series
There’s only one place on campus where you can watch “Purple Rain,” “Psycho,” and “The Avengers” in the span of one year—the Wesleyan Film Series. Run in accordance with the Film Department, the series airs every Wednesday through Saturday, bringing in some fantastic reels from films both new and old. What’s more, University faculty and (occasionally) cast and crew members provide lectures before certain screenings, as Stephen Trask did before a screening of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” last semester.
Great talks and performances from the Center for the Arts
If you’re interested in pretty much anything else, the University has something for you. If you like studio art, check out the Zilkha Family Gallery, which has original gallery showings from students and established artists alike. From Korean photographs to student theses, you’re bound to be roped in at some point this year. If you’re more interested in performance art, the Center for the Arts hosts talks, dance performances, and concerts that attract powerful figures such as photographer Gregory Crewdson and musician Hugh Masekela.
The University boasts an incredible range of alumni. From Joss Whedon ’87 to MGMT (Andrew VanWyngarden ’04 and Ben Goldwasser ’04) to Benh Zetlin ’04, director of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Wesleyan’s proud arts alumni are a testament to the kind of value that the University places in its arts education. What’s more, you might just get a chance to see them on campus; recent events have included a lecture by Bradley Whitford ’81, a screening of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” with Zeitlin, and Whedon’s recent commencement speech for the class of 2013.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Outside of institutionalized and schedule arts performances, the campus attracts some of the most arts-passionate students around. So even if you’re not going to any of these fantastic events or meeting any of our alumni, chances are you’re bound to find an impromptu jam sesssion on Foss Hill, a fellow sketch buddy in your dorm, or another arts experience that’s right for you.