Krannert Center gives “A Taste of the Arts”

Piper Gouliard, 5, samples desserts from the food table at the Krannert Center on Saturday. The Taste of the Arts featured various performers and sweets. Peter Hoffman

Piper Gouliard, 5, samples desserts from the food table at the Krannert Center on Saturday. The Taste of the Arts featured various performers and sweets. Peter Hoffman

By Christine Kim

The Krannert Center’s annual “A Taste of the Arts” event presented a variety of art, performances and dances Saturday from 12-4 p.m. in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ lobby.

The community outreach department of the Krannert Center Student Association organized the event.

The “Taste” centered around two stages, one located in the lobby and the other in the studio with performances ranging from a comedy segment by the Spicy Clamato to an audience participatory dance performance by the Swing Society.

The theme, “Sweetest Day,” was incorporated in the event through handing out candy and decorating cookie at the food table.

“The goal of community outreach is to share the arts with the community and to act as a contact between the Krannert Center and the Champaign-Urbana community as well as the campus community,” said Rivkah Cooke, junior in LAS and director of community outreach at Krannert. “So the “Taste of the Arts” was created to help us fulfill that goal. It shares the arts with the community and shows what’s going on campus.”

A Taste of the Arts provided a different outreach compared to other projects planned at the Krannert Center.

“We get the largest amount of people from this event and that’s what really sets it apart from all the other events,” said Tina Ruskuls, freshman in LAS and member of the Krannert Center Student Association. “It’s a more welcoming, relaxed environment. It’s very free-flowing so people can come and leave whenever they want, and I think that makes it more inviting for people, knowing that they don’t have to stay for the entire event.”

The Rip Chords, a women’s a cappella group, sang during their 20-minute performance and contributed to the variety on stage.

Colleen Barry, junior in LAS and president of the Rip Chords, talked about the benefits the group received from this performance.

“Performing at Taste of the Arts benefits us because most of the events we perform at are either just students or just adults, but this one really brings together people from the community and the school,” Barry said. “It’s nice to have both groups in the same setting, it’s nice to see the community and the students interact with each other. It’s a good way to get the word out about our group.”

The Krannert Center Student Association offered participating groups a booth to help publicize their names. This year, the Rip Chords, the Body Image Network and three country and folk dance organizations held a booth.

“We had people find out about us through this event,” said Jonathan Sivier, of Champaign and member of the English Country Dancers and Urbana Country Dancers. “It lets people know what sorts of things are available. We’re not really performers, but we have dances … We hope that people will just come and join it, but they need to know about it, so this is a good way to get people more aware about it.”

After being contacted, the Body Image Network became involved in “A Taste of the Arts” for the first time. This student organization promotes size diversity and acceptance among individuals and provides an outreach to the campus to raise consciousness regarding the pressures and struggles surrounding body images.

“I feel that a lot of people in the area of the arts have the same struggles with body image,” said Melanie Heckman, junior in ALS. “They want to have a nice appearance for an audience. In performing arts, you’re in the public eye a lot and you have pressure to look a certain way with the media and society.”

“A Taste of the Arts” provided not only an exposure to different types of arts and performances but also an opportunity for participating in the future.

“I hope people realize that there is a really huge variety of arts going on at UIUC and that they really do partake in it more,” said Ruskuls. “You really get to see what the different groups are on campus and which groups you would like to be involved in if you want to be involved in the arts.”