Volume 96, Issue 62
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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Showcasing the alternatives

By Megan O'Toole
Gazette Staff

Students may notice a change in décor in the University Community Centre this week.

Kicking off today, The AlteRnaTive, Western's annual Festival of the Arts, will run until Friday.

University Students' Council FOA commissioner Dave Vaillancourt said the ultimate goal of The AlteRnaTive is to increase students' awareness of art and to provide a showcase for student artists.

"We wanted to focus on drawing attention to new 'alternative' art, which may or may not be easily found," Vaillancourt said. "Art is an alternative in itself. One way we are showcasing alternative art is by erecting a 'junk sculpture' in the atrium. We're asking students to bring in everyday items, and things that are not usually beautiful, to add to our montage."

Vaillancourt said events throughout the week will include an art show and daily entertainment in the UCC atrium, a coffeehouse tonight at The Wave, a film screening Wednesday at The Wave and a Best of the Bands concert Thursday at The Spoke – all free of charge. According to Vaillancourt, the festivities will be wrapped up on Friday with a DJ Spinoff at The Wave ($3 cover).

"The festival has many different components and I think there is something for everyone," said USC VP-student affairs Lil Chieh. "I hope students will take part in aspects of the arts that they already enjoy, and experience some aspects they may not be familiar with."

According to Vaillancourt, the festival will showcase the work of nearly 200 students.

"I expect a warm reception from students in general," Vaillancourt noted. "The one thing that really draws students in are the activities in the atrium... we are hopeful that this casual interest will translate into them coming and checking out our other events as well."

First-year media, information and technoculture student Eugene Gutierrez will be part of the daily entertainment portion of the week's festivities, performing his own, original music.

"I figure that [the festival] is the perfect opportunity to get some exposure for my own music and to bring some awareness to the talent that's here [at Western]," he said.

"Also, it might encourage others to come out and perform," Gutierrez added. "There's a lot of people here with some kind of talent – be it playing an instrument, painting or whatever – and if they see people participating [in FOA 2003], then they'll be more inclined to share what they have."

First-year political science student Brent Jones said he chose to become involved with the Festival of Arts in order to share his musical craft with the Western community and to meet other people with similar interests.

"We must celebrate our accomplishments, forgive our mistakes and look forward, while enjoying the present," Jones said, describing the message he hopes students will take away from FOA 2003. "The greater our self-esteem as a species, the greater will be the benefits of all we endeavour."

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