Bloomington in the summer means less traffic, more parking -- and lots of live music, theater and dance, conferences and lectures, art openings and films. This summer, Indiana University Bloomington brings all of those elements together in the Summer Festival of the Arts, which began this week and will continue through Aug. 28.
The inaugural festival offers 113 days of arts programming, much of it free and family-friendly, at venues across campus including IU Auditorium, IU Cinema, the Jacobs School of Music, the Lilly Library, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, the Grunwald Gallery of Art (formerly School of Fine Arts Gallery) and the Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center.
"Indiana University has had a long-standing commitment to excellence in the arts and humanities," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "In initiating this new summer arts festival, we are building upon the university's rich cultural heritage while offering visitors to our Bloomington campus the kinds of high-caliber artistic programs and magnificent cultural facilities that are typically only found in our nation's major metropolises. All of us at IU look forward to showcasing our vibrant arts community this summer and starting what we believe will become an exciting seasonal tradition."
Soaring gas prices and a slowly rebounding economy make this the perfect year to launch the festival, said Valerie Peña, associate vice president and chief of staff for the IU Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations. "For many of our neighbors throughout Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois, visiting IU in Bloomington is a 'one-tank' of gas trip to a culturally diverse, affordable community that even in the summer months is bursting with arts events."
The university plans to make the summer festival an annual event that both supports the creation of new arts events and showcases the many arts offerings at IU that help make Bloomington such a popular tourism destination throughout the summer. The Jacobs School of Music has merged its summer music programming with the Summer Festival of the Arts, while the IU Department of Theatre and Drama will offer its first Indiana Theatre Festival season on campus as part of the festival, with a lineup featuring The Music Man, The Comedy of Errors and Ah, Wilderness. The IU Cinema will show an array of films ranging from documentaries to children's films, many of which are free to the public.
Visitors to IU for Mini University, the Writers' Conference, the Audubon Institute and the many camps and workshops that take place on campus will also be able to enjoy the campus arts activities.
Among the festival highlights:
Passion with Tropes, Ruth N. Halls Theatre. Friday, May 20, 7:30 p.m. An immersive theater edition of Passion with Tropes, composed by Jacobs Professor Don Freund.
The Kinsey Institute 2011 Juried Art Show at the Grunwald Gallery of Art (School of Fine Arts Gallery). Friday, May 20-July 30. Opening reception from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Contemporary art exhibition featuring paintings, prints, photographs, ceramics, wearable art, metalwork, books, sculpture, fiber art and video installations by a mix of local, national and International Artists.
Pastoral Dialogues: Amorous Duets from Mid-17th Century England, Slocum Room, Lilly Library. Saturday, May 21, 1 p.m. Christopher Goodbeer and friends will perform selections from Ayres and Dialogues (1653-1658) and Select Ayres and Dialogues (1659) as written by Henry Lawes, his brother William, and other mid-17th century English composers.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (3D documentary film, 2010), IU Cinema. Thursday, June 2, 7 p.m. This Werner Herzog film follows an expedition into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most ancient visual art to have been created by man.
Menahem Pressler and Friends, Auer Hall. Wednesday, June 22, 8 p.m. Menahem Pressler and Friends perform with Pressler on piano; Alexander Kerr, violin; Diemut Poppen, viola and Desmond Hoebig, cello.
The Music Man, Ruth N. Halls Theatre. Thursday, June 23 (6 p.m.) June 24- 26 at 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinee June 26, June 28-30, July 1-3 and July 6-9 at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, see http://artsfest.indiana.edu/index.shtml.