The UNC ARTery is looking to become the University’s hub of student arts.
The group, which aims to make it easier for campus arts organizations to work together, took its first stab at that mission Saturday, when students filled the Great Hall of the Student Union for its Fall Talent Showcase.
The showcase, conceptualized by Clare Shaffer and Chris Helton, included more than 20 dance, singing, theater, modeling, rap and spoken word groups.
Julian Caldwell, a UNC student rapper who goes by JSWISS, served as the emcee of the three-hour event.
Johnny Ubri-Cardona, a member of Misconception Dance Company, one of the groups featured in the showcase, said he was impressed with the turnout and the enthusiasm of the crowd.
“At such a strong academic institution like UNC, it’s great to see arts groups get so much attention,” he said.
Shaffer and Helton, the co-directors of UNC ARTery, began planning the showcase in the spring as a way to bring more awareness to the diverse talent on campus.
Shaffer said the showcase served as a miniature FallFest for campus arts groups after the annual festival was cancelled due to rain.
“At FallFest, you can hear people talk all day about (campus organizations),” she said.
“But with the arts, it’s very difficult to put a value on it without seeing it.”
All proceeds from the showcase went to the UNC ARTery’s Students’ Art Grant, which allows students to apply for funding in pursuit of personal artistic goals.
UNC ARTery also strives to provide a more succinct system of organization for campus arts groups online, Shaffer said.
“With so much going on at UNC, it’s hard to figure out where the artists are and what they’re doing,” she said.
The group’s website has four event calendars organized by dance, music, visual arts and performance.
The calendar initiative was also one of the goals of Student Body President Will Leimenstoll’s platform, which included an arts advocacy section and yielded the Campus Steering Committee for the Arts.
Kinsey Sullivan, co-chairwoman of the committee, said members want to support the efforts of the UNC ARTery.
“There’s a lot of redundancy and overlap at a school this large, so we definitely want to put our weight behind something that’s already working so well,” she said.
UNC ARTery is one of seven branches of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, a student policy organization that encourages activism.
Helton said collaboration is key in the ARTery’s mission.
“UNC is such a family, so there should be that kind of collaboration there. It’s a disservice to the campus as whole without it.”