The School of the Arts concluded its three-day Festival of the Arts this past Friday, commemorating student artwork through a series of exhibitions, demonstrations and other performances. This inaugural student showcase marks the first year of Binghamton University’s School of the Arts, which aims to consolidate the disciplines of art and design, art history, cinema, creative writing, music and theatre under one school, as well as bring visibility to the arts at BU.

The festival began on May 1, with performances by Hub New Music — a quartet consisting of a flute, violin, clarinet and cello player — and BU’s chamber singers.

On May 2, the events resumed at 1:20 p.m. with “The New Lyric,” a series of opera arias sung by students along with a collection of new songs from a collaboration between the music department and creative writing program. At 4:30 p.m., individuals could gather on the Spine to hear BU’s steel drum band perform, and at 5 p.m., head over to the Art Museum for an intern showcase.

The School of the Arts emerged from years of discussion which culminated in a proposal for the new school, according to Pamela Smart, associate dean for faculty affairs and programmatic initiatives for Harpur College and aan ssociate professor of art history. Christopher Robbins, the former director of the School of Art and Design at Purchase College, has since been appointed as the School of the Arts’ founding director.

“There were a couple of strong motivations for developing a School of the Arts within Harpur College,” Smart said. “One is that there’s so much fantastic work going on among faculty and students in the arts, but they’ve never had quite the visibility that they should have … and two, to have a set of conditions in place — and I think the director of the School of the Arts is really important in this — to seek out and develop opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations both within the arts but also between arts programs and other fields.”

The festival’s third day began at noon with presentations from art history students. Later, during a 4 p.m. performance titled “Pedal Powered Theater,” engineering and theatre students collaborated on a short production that demonstrated the concepts of mechanical energy and electricity, where audience members could manually power elements of the play —like an alarm clock and toaster — as they helped the protagonist prepare for the day.

Tommy Iafrate, the University’s director of musical theatre, collaborated with Nate Wheatley, a lecturer and lighting designer of theatre, to put on this interdisciplinary show. Iafrate emphasized the importance of both consolidating arts departments under one school and the element of collaboration between the arts and sciences.

“What I imagined being a really important part of the School of the Arts here at Binghamton is collaboration,” Iafrate said. “There aren’t a whole lot of projects that connect engineering and theater, and this is one that was linked to both departments really working on it together … I hope that there’s more interdepartmental collaborative work that happens in the School of the Arts for the rest of its existence.”

At 4:30 p.m., attendees watched a class recital of the theatre pit orchestra, which performed numbers from playwright Steven Sater’s “Spring Awakening.” Also starting at 4:30 p.m. and running until 7 p.m. was a music and theatre reception outside of the Watters Theater.

From 5-5:30 p.m. attendees could head down to the lower galleries of the Art Museum to watch “Behind The Field: In Plain Sight,” a student-made documentary that follows three students’ art projects over the course of a semester. The project, funded by the Art Bridges Foundation, was a pilot program of the Art Museum’s Artist-in-Residence initiative, where select undergraduates focused their work through the lens of artist David Hammons.

Bryan Fernandez, a senior majoring in music, described how he drew inspiration from Hammons’ work to create four different composition pieces.

“I noticed he worked a lot within the African American community in Harlem and I thought it was kind of great how he was able to go out and explore and integrate this community that you don’t see in the art world, and I wanted to do that in Binghamton,” Fernandez said.

The art and design senior BA exhibition was also located amid the lower level galleries. The Rosefsky Gallery was adorned with student work that represented the artistic growth of students throughout their college experience.

“I kind of just dove into graphic design, and even in my first semester I went from never having worked with charcoal before to making a five foot still life and landscape,” said Sarah Rossbach, a senior majoring in art and design who interns at the Rosefsky Gallery. “The professors push you in the best way possible. They push you to be your best.”

This sense of community between students and faculty was evident at the festival, as artists, professors and attendees mingled in the Memorial Courtyard and Grand Corridor to commemorate the hard work of BU’s student artists throughout this past year. The reception included merchandise for sale by the Art Museum as well as a hands-on silkscreen demo, where students made School of the Arts t-shirts.

At 6 p.m., attendees came together in the Rosefsky Gallery for the Departmental Awards Ceremony, where Hans Gindlesberger, chair of the department of art and design, awarded accolades for 10 students who demonstrated excellence in the arts. At the same time, attendees could visit the Poet’s Cafe, where individuals gathered on couches and chairs in John Arthur Café for a poetry reading hosted by Tina Chang, the director of creative writing and Joe Weil, associate professor of English. The festival also featured cinema and dance events throughout the evening, including a film truck on the Spine and performances by BFA in musical theatre students.

Robbins described how the School of the Arts plans to expand in the coming years and how it allows students to study the arts in addition to experiencing a breadth of academic freedom.

“The School of the Arts already has incredibly strong offerings, and our goals are to expand these to be even more cross-disciplinary, showing how the arts can have an impact in many other fields and industries,” Robbins wrote in an email. We are creating new curricular initiatives that bring different fields together, like the lighting and sound engineering minor currently in development … and we are pushing the arts to help students from any field get the creative edge in their industry, helping them see new approaches and methods for innovation, setting them apart from so many others.”