Arts and Literary Festival 2021: ‘Alegría: Ode to Joy’


The annual Newman University Arts and Literary Festival will be held Friday, March 12, 2021.

The theme differs each year and in recent years has varied from Harry Potter to Beowulf. This year’s event is titled “Alegría: Ode to Joy.”

Associate Professor of English Susan Crane-Laracuente said, “This year … you see the deliberate use of the Spanish word for happiness. Also, the program includes a short play in Spanish — thanks to the efforts of professor (Sonja) Bontrager — enacted by students who are newer to Spanish and those who grew up speaking it.

“Everyone among the faculty working to devise this year’s theme readily agreed that the idea of happiness and joy should be featured this year.”

In years past, the event was referred to as the literary festival, but Crane-Laracuente said that with departments such as theatre, music and art collaborating each year on the event, it made sense to include ‘arts’ in the title.

“Arts and Literature Festival is a way to make what we already usually do more explicit,” she said. “It is, I hope, also a way to move toward a format that will further strengthen the presence of visual, theatrical, musical and literary arts across campus by becoming more inviting to many groups across campus.”

Some of the major events throughout the day include the Spanish play and the performance of William Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” along with presentations and workshops by students, faculty and alumni.

Along with scheduled events, Crow & Co. Books, owned by Newman alumni Sara and Larry Crow, will hold a book sale.

Attendees will have an opportunity to collaborate on a mural in the hallway of De Mattias Hall and First Friday artist Kevin Kelley’s art can be viewed in Steckline Gallery.

Finally, a dance and poetry workshop will also be featured, presented by professionals Regina Klenjoski and Jennie Linthorst.

Crane-Laracuente sees the festival as a direct tie to the university mission, more specifically, the core value of a global perspective.

“Arts and literature offer many opportunities for cultivating intellect and opening doorways into others’ perspectives. No doubt most everyone is aware of recent commentary on the ways practicing and witnessing arts have sustained hope during the pandemic, too.”

For the full schedule of events and activities click here.

University COVID-19 restrictions and protocols will be in place at all events. Arts and Literary Festival events are free to the public with the exception of “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which is only free for Newman students with an ID.



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