Cultural Arts Offers New Experiences and Opportunities

Most students at Western Carolina University, or any young adult for that matter, would enjoy meeting someone famous. How would it feel to spend a day with one of your favorite authors or to act in a play? What most students don’t realize is that the Lectures, Concerts and Exhibitions Series at WCU offers many of these opportunities.

The LCE wants students to become more involved and join in on the fun. The staff is made up of both faculty and students, but LCE is looking for more student participants in order to hear the opinions of students and pick events that students will enjoy.

Each year, LCE is given approximately $50,000 to $70,000 as a budget to put together a series of events that students will find enjoyable. This budget includes a fee for the artist, travel, hospitality and other necessities that the visiting artist may need. On average, LCE tries to put on around eight shows.

Last year, the Harlem Gospel Choir and Sal Williams were big hits. Because of the success of these shows, LCE has lined appearances by people such as Henry Rollins and Russell Banks, author of Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, for this coming school year.

LCE will open with Shakespeare and close with an opera for the 2007-08 series. Staff members try to include at least one great literary artist for the Literary Festival and one great jazz or musical artist for the Arts and Jazz Festival. In addition, LCE is also a cosponsor with other initiatives on campus such as Hispanic Heritage Month and the “Yo Soy Latina” production, the AIDS Quilt and a presentation of “From Africa to Appalachia,” which includes a history of the banjo from it’s origin in Africa and it’s journey to Appalachia.

In addition to Henry Rollins and Russell Banks, other performances and activities include the Bread and Puppet Theater which will have their first performance after the Homecoming football game. Play rehearsals will be open to the entire community. The One O’clock Lab Band, a world renowned college jazz band from North Texas University, will also be performing this year.

All LCE events are free for students with their Cat Cards. Other students and senior citizens may be admitted to events for $5 and the general public will be admitted for $10.

Students who choose to take part in LCE events and become part of the staff can get active in the committee, help work programs, start planning acts for next year and take on responsibilities such as feeding and offering transportation to artists that perform during the event.

“We try to create an opportunity with students to interact with the artists,” Rebecca Saunders explains. “We try to make what is perceived as a ‘big name’ more accessible to students.”

If students are interested in becoming a part of the LCE team, the first meeting is September 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cardinal Room of the University Center. During this meeting, staff members will discuss what events will be taking place for this academic year and what activities will be coming up.

For more information on the Lectures, Concerts and Exhibitions Series and a full schedule of events, visit: