First Time at ArtsFest? Here’s All You Need to Know

By Kristen Mabie

Is this your first year going to ArtsFest and you’re not sure what to expect, or which events to attend? You’ve noticed those white tents that mysteriously appeared while you were cheering on marathoners. But what are they for, and why should you care? Read on, for the in-brief low down of what each ArtsFest venue has to offer and why you should be excited!

From Thursday through Saturday of this week, Boston College will put the spotlight on all forms of art. Though BC has a strong community of talented student-artists they are rarely honored with such a public platform. Over 1,000 students and faculty will share their artistic talents with us, which means you’re almost certain to find something you love. BC students and visitors alike can’t miss the festival tents on O’Neill Plaza and Stokes Lawn, in a central and beautiful part of our campus. Though O’Neill Plaza and the Stokes Lawn are the heart and soul of the festival, events are also held in buildings throughout campus, such as Gasson 100, so remember to check the schedule online for details. Also on the online schedule lists the times of the events, and many are in the evenings so if you are not available during the day you still have the opportunity to experience the festival! It’s truly a three-day non-stop celebration of the arts.

The Irish Studies Music Program will start us off in the main tent at O’Neill Plaza on Thursday at noon. After that, music, theatre, and dance events are held every hour, all throughout the weekend. Following the amazing Showdown dance competition last weekend, many campus dance groups will take the stage in O’Neill plaza and perform. Additionally, a-capella and other musical groups will share this stage throughout the weekend. The stage will rarely be left empty so make sure to stop by often to experience a variety of art forms, cultures, and artists. Each evening, head to the tent on O’Neill for the main event, a three-night billing to cater for all tastes, from the all-out rock fest of BC’s Best and the can’t-stop hip hop of BC Underground to the big band extravaganza of Dancing with bOp!


Have you ever seen a sketch show in an art gallery? The Stokes Art Tent houses a three-day pop up student exhibition as well as a host of live performances. It’s a very unique experience where you may get the chance to interact with the artist of your favorite piece in the Gallery Opening and Reception. Or hangout with your lunchtime reading and enjoy music, improv comedy, and spoken word in the unique atmosphere of this warm, sunny, indoors-outdoors art gallery. The tent will also hold more formal events such as Artist Talks by the students showing work and Inside the BC Studio, a conversation with professor Sheila Gallagher and our esteemed alumni guest for the year, artist Chris Doyle (’81). Doyle is an internationally exhibited artist whose recent project was an installation for Times Square. The discussion with him on Friday afternoon at 2:15 PM is a can’t miss event! The art doesn’t remain within the bounds of the Stokes tent, however. The Stokes Lawn itself is a hub of arty events going on all weekend. After you’ve soaked in the art exhibition step out onto the lawn to pick up a unique gift at the BC craft fair, get a beautiful henna tattoo at the free henna stand, or create art yourself, with the daily sidewalk chalk masterpiece, a giant reproduction of a famous painting on which the whole BC community can collaborate.


No matter what days or events you attend at this year’s Arts Festival it is sure to be a highlight of this Boston College Spring. The vibrant energy and inspiring talent the festival has to offer can’t be missed by any fan of Boston College or the arts. And if you still aren’t sure which events are for you, head over the Arts Council website for the full schedule.



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