This Friday, April 30 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Binghamton University’s Mental Health Outreach Peer Educators (M-HOPE) organization will be collaborating with the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) to host a Multicultural Art Showcase along the Spine. The event will feature artwork inspired and informed by BU students’ cultural backgrounds and self-identities. Submissions range from dance to poetry and comedy to visual art.

The event will be hosted by M-HOPE interns, who are student ambassadors seeking to educate and engage the BU community in all fields of wellness, especially mental health. They serve the student population in a variety of ways including facilitating outreach and educational seminars. This semester, they have hosted multiple remote and hybrid events centered around mental health awareness and self-care. Their partner in this event, the MRC, provides services to both students and faculty on campus and hosts BU’s 150+ cultural clubs and organizations. The MRC seeks to educate the BU community on cultural diversity and promote student organizations that do the same.

According to Paige Kenis, an M-HOPE intern and a junior double-majoring in psychology and sociology, this year’s showcase was inspired by the annual Art Walk that was discontinued a few years ago. Kenis planned the showcase this year along with Nicolette Macolino, a fellow M-HOPE intern and a senior double-majoring in psychology and art and design. They learned about the canceled event from a graduate assistant in M-HOPE and decided to revive it in hopes that the organization will continue to host the event in coming years. This year, they set out to create an inclusive environment that embraces the cultural diversity of the BU community and gives students the freedom to express themselves.

“Our goal is for us all to appreciate each other as we are, [and] to facilitate a space for connection among people that hopefully helps us to all feel more safe and connected in our campus community,” Kenis said. “We told people to submit any art that has to do with their identity or self-expression.”

M-HOPE has received a wide variety of submissions that they are excited to display. The event will also feature performances by an assortment of BU’s clubs. Highlights will include a dance performance by the X-Fact’r Step Team and a stand-up comedy set by the Bing Stand-Up. M-HOPE and the MRC have been accepting personal and organization-affiliated submissions all week via Google Form.

Along with the displays of student art, M-HOPE interns will be sharing information about mental health resources available to students and giving away goody bags. To ensure that students both on and off campus can attend the event, the host organizations are creating a hybrid version of the Art Walk so virtual attendance is possible. Students can learn more and RSVP to the event on B-Engaged.