Celebrating the Arts

By Ian Mathias

JHU Arts Festival

Over five days in early April, Hopkins artists of every variety shared their talents at venues across the university. There was acting and dancing on the Homewood campus, storytelling at the School of Medicine, and a recital featuring students from the Peabody Conservatory—and that was just on Friday night.

"What’s really important is that the festival celebrated the arts at several campuses of Johns Hopkins," says Eric Beatty, director of Homewood Arts Programs and festival organizer. "There is such a broad representation of art forms at Hopkins, and our students, faculty, alumni, and staff [were essential] to each event."

Over the course of the festival that ran from April 6 to 10, the local community was treated to more than 35 performances, exhibits, presentations, tours, and workshops, with the Mattin Center at Homewood serving as a hub of activity.

The inaugural festival kicked off the evening of April 6 with two simultaneous events: Former JHU Historic Houses director Cindy Kelly hosted a reading from her new book, Outdoor Sculpture in Baltimore, at the Evergreen House. At the same time, Film and Media Studies instructor Matthew Porterfield hosted a screening and Q&A for Putty Hill and Hamilton—his two films inspired by Baltimore working-class neighborhoods.

A sampling of other activities that unfolded over the ensuing four days:

  • The Writing Seminars faculty held a panel discussion on the writing process in the Mattin Center.
  • A group of Hopkins students fashioned a line of black dresses for their "Liberation by Design" project.
  • The JHU Modern Dance Company presented its 30th anniversary spring concert in Shriver Hall.
  • The Barnstormers, Hopkins’ oldest and largest theater troupe, performed three showings of Evita in Swirnow Theater.
  • Peabody faculty member John Walker performed an organ recital at Peabody’s Leith Symington Griswold Hall.
  • The Hopkins medical community got involved by hosting Stories from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, a part of The Stoop Storytelling Series, at the Turner Auditorium.

"The Hopkins community is very artistic," Beatty says. "We have the world-class music of the Peabody Institute and the Shriver Hall Concert Series, exemplary Homewood academic arts programs, the Archaeology and Historic Houses museums, the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, the JHU Press, and dozens of talented student arts groups.

"Art is always part of Hopkins. We wanted to create a five-day event to shine the spotlight on all of our artistic talent."