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UT Arts Nexus to Explode as ‘Firecracker’

Published: April 13, 2010
A collaboration of music, dance and digital art between the University of Tampa and the Tampa Museum of Art, Arts Nexus is as much about the night as it is about the future relationship between these two icons on the river.

“We wanted to do something different, cutting edge, splashy,” said Haig Mardirosian, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “We wanted something a little bit more explosive. It’s a firecracker.”

On the evening of April 15, students and faculty from the University of Tampa will converge on the museum in a 1960s-style happening, a night of multidisciplinary art that involves the audience.

The night includes a parade from campus to the museum, a dance performance of structured improvisation, flashes of experimental films from communications students and the piecing together of minimalist music, one which has no definitive end and will wrap the building in sound much like the LED lights already do with color.

“It’s hypnotic, trancelike and requires a different kind of listening experience,” said Assistant Professor Bradford Blackburn, of the piece by Terry Riley, "in C." “It’s symbolic of the Arts Nexus event in that individuals’ creative senses are coming together with the same creative vision.”

All of that palpable energy happens simultaneously, continuously from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., and gracefully intertwined.

“I think people will find it fascinating,” said UT Dance Professor Susan Taylor Lennon. “The possibilities are endless.”

On Thursday night Professor Dana Plays will premiere, “Demolition,” a two-panel digital installation, which includes footage of the demolition of the old Tampa Museum of Art.

“'Demolition,’ involving footage I shot of the old museum structure coming down, set against new media made by a variety of artists, really epitomizes what I see this event as being about - tearing down the old, bringing in the new - new ideas, new relationships, new art,” Plays said.

When Mardirosian arrived at the University last year, he saw the museum rising up across the river and saw an opportunity. He also noticed that UT was doing great things without the community knowing. So he picked up the phone and called Todd Smith, executive director of the museum.

The Arts Nexus is a “dramatic manifestation of this relationship,” said Mardirosian, of a renewed effort of the University and the museum to work in partnership. Mardirosian said they hope to offer some of UT’s art history classes in the museum and use museum staff as adjunct faculty.

“It’s really about defining a relationship on two banks of a river,” Mardirosian said. “This is a symbolic kickoff of something that will be long-term and will impact the quality of life and the quality of education, which is what we’re both about.”

The parade will begin at 8:10 p.m. in front of the R.K. Bailey Art Studio on North Boulevard on the UT campus and will continue across the bridge to the museum, where events will take place inside and out. The event is free and open to the public.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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