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‘Artbeat 2004’ features cross pollination of arts

Carol Feineman

Besides showcasing approximately 150 Sierra College performing and visual art students, Friday’s inaugural “Artbeat 2004” in Grass Valley will give students an opportunity for cross-pollination.

So asserts Lovie Bucknell, “Artbeat 2004’s” artistic director who also came up with the idea for what she hopes becomes an annual event with student dance, drama, poetry and choral performances along with student painting, photography, sculpture and drawing displays.

“Cross-pollination of students is a great thing. If a dancer decides to take a drama class, she or he will be much better in performance, for instance,” Bucknell said. “If a musician decides to take a dance class, she or he will already have rhythm, which can be half the battle. If a photography student takes a dance class, she or he will have great material, and if a painting student takes a modern dance class, she or he will understand the term ‘abstract’ in another way. And any student who takes an art history class is going to get so much more out of an experience in any art studio class. The ideas are endless of an art student branching out in her or his interests while each medium inspires another.”

Bucknell’s point is avidly supported by Joseph Simms, who co-choreographed a modern dance piece with Nick Katzman for “Artbeat 2004.” Simms will also display some of his photographs during the event.

“Cross-pollination is pretty much necessary in the art world. It’s great for photographers and dancers to get together. Both are focusing on movement, both are a visual art so they go hand-in-hand as they appease the viewers’ eye.”

This semester marks the first time that Simms, 25, has ever taken a photography class. He has taken dance classes for four years, the last two years with Bucknell.

Hoping to work full-time as an artist in the near future, Simms, who also performs locally with The Movement Alliance in modern dance and with Tresa Honiker in ariel dance, will audition next year for Cirque du Soliel in Las Vegas. He also would like to create a book of photographs on dancers.

Since February, between his day job of painting houses and attending Sierra College, Simms has worked daily on the “Artbeat 2004” dance piece.

“There’s a lot of coordination with the dancers. My piece has live music; Jeff Thorsby will play the piano and sing a song by Fugazi,” Simms added.

Simms doesn’t mind spending so much time preparing for Friday’s event; he wants to entice others into trying first-hand a new genre.

“I was scared the first time I went on stage, which was when I was 21,” he shared. “After seeing the process, though, anyone can do it.”

A mere four years later, Simms is quite comfortable on stage.

“It would be nice for everyone to see what everyone’s doing. Someone might be afraid to do a dance class but after they see ‘Artbeat,’ maybe they’re say ‘oh, I can do that too,'” Simms said. “They can get a better idea.”

Gary Graham, who teaches the mural arts class at Sierra College, is eagerly looking forward to Friday’s show. His students will illustrate the mural-making process by displaying hundreds of drawings and thumbnail sketches used this semester in creating a 39-by-15 triangulated mural inside Sierra College’s cafeteria/student center.

“Anything that brings the arts together is what I’m all about,” Graham said. “The community is broader than any institution. We should spill out from the campus into the streets and integrate college into the community.”

KNOW & GO

WHAT: “Artbeat 2004”

WHEN: Friday from 7 to 10 p.m.

WHERE: St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 410 S. Church St., Grass Valley

ADMISSION: Free but donations accepted to cover expenses and for next year’s show

INFORMATION: 470-0788

___

Event schedule

7 to 8 p.m.: Students play background piano and guitar music while the audience views visual arts displays. Refreshments available from the Sierra College Dance Club.

8 to 8:40 p.m.: Dance, drama, poetry, choir performances

8:40 to 8:55 p.m.: Guitar and piano performances and viewing of the visual arts exhibits

8:55 to 9:20 p.m.: More dance, drama, poetry, choir performances

9:20 to 10 p.m.: Performers and audience members mingle

Sierra College students participating in “Artbeat 2004” are from Gary Graham’s mural art class, John Michael Keating’s painting class, Robin Clark’s photography class, Dick Hotchkiss’ ceramics class, Ken Hardin’s choir class, Judy Crowe’s English class, John Deaderick’s drama class, Lovie Bucknell’s jazz and modern dance classes and Teresa Wirik-Cull’s jazz-funk dance class.


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