By Heather Leiphart, Student Reporter
Downtown Abilene comes alive with art, music and crafts the second Thursday of each month, but this Thursday “Earth Day” ArtWalk will feature ACU social justice organizations and artwork with an international theme. The event begins at 5 p.m. at the intersection of Pine and Cypress streets and will wrap up at 8:30 p.m.
“Our purpose is to increase awareness of the many different cultures represented in Abilene, but at the same time, it also involves social justice clubs,” said Joni Lee, student coordinator of the event. “We want to show the culture but also the social conditions and how to make a difference, so integrating both of those with the ArtWalk is making it a more meaningful event.”
ACU organizations involved include Eternal Threads, Sanctuary Homes, Wishing Well, International Justice Mission, TOMS shoes, ACU for Fair Trade, ACU Model UN, ACU for the IRC, 25cloth and Handbags for Hope.
“For someone like me without international ties, it’s pretty cool to see all of these groups and realize we can be internationally minded and look to help the world from where we’re sitting as Americans,” said Wishing Well co-director Ben Fulfer, junior sociology major from Cordova, Tenn. “That’s what we want to show the community, and that’s why it’s cool to have those groups at an international ArtWalk.”
Lee encourages those attending to participate in the international theme by wearing their traditional clothing or dressing multiculturally.
Attendees can enjoy chair massages, Henna tattoos, custom calligraphy, wood whittling demonstrations, a belly-dancing performance and a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Soy candles, art prints, hand-sketched portraits, handmade jewelry and various ACU social justice club paraphernalia will be sold along the sidewalks.
Restaurants along Pine and Cypress streets boast dinner specials, art and music inside their doors, while local businesses and museums offer extended hours and free or discounted admission to multiple internationally themed galleries. The ACU Cockerell Art Gallery will present the Student Senior Cameo Art Show from ACU’s Department of Art and Design during the Earth Day ArtWalk as well.
In addition to the art, more than a dozen ACU music groups will perform in Minter and Everman parks as part of the annual Jam for Justice. Musicians include Robby Brown/Andrew Duge, Dear Winter, Sweet Fall, Jeremy Robinson, Jennifer Fuentes, Thus Far, Luke Powell, Stephen Powell, Bradley Steele, Casen MacInturf, ACU Jazz Combo, ACU Trombone Ensemble, Ian Smith, Swing the Lead and Fair Forms.
“For a normal ArtWalk, there are usually 600-800 people coming and going in nice weather, so hopefully we’ll get an even bigger crowd this time,” Fulfer said. “We’re trying to convince people to stay in town to hear good concerts and see some really cool stuff. The music will be 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., but we might be jamming until 9 p.m.”