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Cultural experience; Bates Art Crawl
LEWISTON- On a bitterly chilly winters' night on the campus of Bates College, hundreds of on-lookers braved the cold to view or participate in the annual Asia Night celebration and first ever Arts Crawl.
I decided to expand my horizons with the introduction of a new friend, Sue Dunn, who works in the Bates registrar's office. There were six of our Greenville friends in attendance for the promised cultural event of the year for those of us who live in the back woods.
With sculptures in the snow from the evolution of a snowman; placed piece-by-piece until it's full formation took shape, to a five-foot-high snow sculpture of a beaker with ice-made glass stirring rods sticking out of it. There were multiple displays that took some ingenious thought to bring to fruition.
This year, students put together an energetic and eclectic night of art to feature the expanding emphasis on the communities creative works. The campus was alive with dance, song, free-standing art and included a little comedy as well.
There was a giant photo booth in the Coram Library that fit us all in to take a cramped, mall-style photo of weird, not-so-ready faces. Over $30,000 worth of camera equipment made for an unreal adventure and a memory that will definitely last a lifetime. The only downer was that with $30,000 of equipment, you would have thought faces would look better than they did. But, I guess you can't buy miracles.
As we ventured outside, the Crosstones were readying themselves to sing a little a cappella in the night. With amazing voices harmonizing in the night air and the only musical assistance coming from a single mouth in the back row, we stood in awe of how they made it all come together. “Psh, psh, psh....bop...bop...bop...psh, bop, psh, bop.” The performance was stunning.
From there, we ventured through the college streets to the Museum of Art, where there were multiple exhibits of sculpture, water color, oil paintings and more that depicted life in turmoil and happiness. One such painting was entitled, “The nightmare.” With depictions of a man being torn from sleep by a hungry monster, falling to a bottomless pit and being torn from limb.
While a little unnerving, it gave you an appreciation for the artist who was able to clearly put his or her nightmares on canvas. Which of us would do the same? Letting someone in to our darkest moments?
Before we headed to the Asia Night celebration, we enjoyed a fabulous meal at the dining hall. There were options for vegans, meat lovers, ice cream lovers and more. When they say that freshmen gain 15 pounds going to college, I can see how.
After stuffing ourselves we headed to Schaeffer Theater for Asia Night and multiple performances by very talented students.
We saw displays of martial arts, fashion shows of middle eastern wear, dance through the decades, Burmese Rock, Bengali Dance and so much more. It was absolutely energizing to see the hundred or so students displaying their talents ranging from dance and singing to the playing of middle eastern musical instruments.
Definitely a night to remember and for what it was worth, a glimpse into another culture always affords an appreciation to learn more about your own.
Wearing Saris draped with a pattern by women in Bangladeshi villages, these women dance to a song originally sung by a man to his love. This was one of more than a dozen performances at the annual Bates Asia Night celebration. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)