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Sunday, June 16, 2024
Comic strip "The Beatniks" featured at WUD art gala. 

Comic strip "The Beatniks" featured at WUD art gala. 

WUD hosts four-day art gala at Memorial Union

UW-Madison is famous for athletics, but is equally strong in the arts as on the fields. Madison began its arts program in 1975, which has only grown richer with age. The academic year of 2010-2011 was designated “Illuminate: Year of the Arts” and has left a legacy of artistically-focused students on our campus. One of these groups is the Wisconsin Union Directorate, otherwise known as WUD, which is student-led and responsible for hosting hundreds of programs in the arts each year. Among other amazing events such as film festivals, cooking seminars and open mic nights, WUD also hosts a four-day art gala, which I had the pleasure of visiting Sunday.

The four-day gala in Memorial Union began Saturday Nov. 19 and will continue through Nov. 22. This gala could not come at a more perfect time as students are ever so tempted to de-stress among the piles of work before Thanksgiving break. Take a stroll on over to the Class of 1925 Art Gallery on the third floor of Memorial Union and peruse the fine art, fine food and art-making opportunities offered each day. The opening evening featured jazz almost as smooth as Louis Armstrong from the band “Left Field,” a local talent. Sunday brought a sneak peak of the selections for the Illumination Journal’s upcoming issue. I was able to visit the gala to see this spread of work, which included paintings, comics and photography. One of my favorite pieces was a comic strip titled “Beatniks” by Rodney Lambright II. His strip features two mischievous kids that snagged pamphlets from the trash, laid them out in a design on the art gallery floor, and waited to see what museum visitors would do. The visitors exclaimed over the crumpled pamphlets on the floor like it was the next Monet, while the two kids fell apart laughing in the background. Lambright II’s comic incorporates the overarching questions of what art can be and what good art looks like while sharing with viewers a good dose of humor. I marveled at his clean lines, the children’s expressive faces and the outfits of the museum visitors. While this was the piece that caught my eye, there are plenty more for viewers to explore. Be sure to come see these pieces in all their glory, before they even hit the pages of the magazine.

Continuing the four-day gala, Monday features a feminist collage and poetry evening, sure to draw out the most creative from the chambers of the library. The fourth and final day, Tuesday evening, offers zine-making and tasty treats from homemade biscuits to chocolate espresso torte. Nights like these, where students are called to make their own art and proudly express their opinions, is one of the reasons that UW-Madison is near and dear to my heart. According to Kelsey Pulera, a student participant in WUD and the External Communications Intern for Memorial Union, shares that “WUD student programing is valuable to campus because it exposes the community to diverse individuals that inspire, energize and motivate students to strive for excellence in all they do.” Take Pulera’s advice and allow yourself to be inspired. I urge you to take advantage of this four-day gala, even if you initially come to taste the espresso torte. As students, we are lucky to be on a campus that offers artistic expression events and encourages creativity of thought.

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