Arts hold an important role in UR student culture. UR’s student-run rock ensemble, No Jackets Required, puts on impressive performances on a regular basis. On-campus art exhibits of all kinds are consistently forward-thinking and thought-provoking. And through the Campus Times, students express insightful viewpoints on current events, pop culture and on-campus life. Overall, UR empowers students with the ability to transcend the status quo and speak their minds through the arts.

One of the most vibrant corners of UR’s creative scene is its “Friday Night Live” showcase, which takes place in Starbucks on Friday nights at 10 p.m. and is organized by UR Concerts. The showcase offers student musicians the opportunity to perform for their peers in an intimate yet lively environment. Friday Night Live concerts have featured student performances ranging from acoustic singer- songwriters to experimental loop-pedal electronica to progressive rock. Friday Night Live frequently garners a packed house at Starbucks.

Week after week, the event brings out the best of the UR student community and fosters an earnest sense of community within the school–something that is truly commendable.

Currently, music reigns supreme at UR as the form of art that brings students together. Concerts are more salient than art exhibits, so it makes sense that students are more aware of an upcoming concert than an art exhibit or poetry reading. Herein lies potential for progress–the potential to build a greater bond throughout our arts community.

Friday Night Live (and UR Concerts) should collaborate with other student-run arts organizations on campus to host events which encompass a broader range of arts. These joint events could combine readings from student poets and storytellers, offering an outlet for student writers; musical performances, similar to Friday Night Live; and visual arts displays.

All of these would showcase the artistic abilities of students. Considering how much of a hub Starbucks is on River Campus, hosting these extended arts events could open up a considerable creative outlet for student artists who are non-musicians. We encourage Friday Night Live and, to a larger extent, UR Concerts to reach out to other organizations to further expand the scope of the arts here at UR.

Sophomore Kylie Sargeant, who is in charge of booking for Friday Night Live, offered some words about how she would like to see the event expand, shedding light on another form of future development for the event: expansion outside the UR community. Sargeant recently said, “I would like to see more Eastman students performing. I have been working on getting more of them to perform here.” By bringing in Eastman students, Friday Night Live could further increase its diversity. In addition, it could foster a greater sense of community and continuity between River Campus and Eastman Campus students.

Friday Night Live is a vibrant pocket of culture on campus, and by expanding its creative outlets and geographical scope, it can bring even more students together and be yet another reason why UR is “ever better.”

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