Arts Festival returns this spring after 2-year absence

Brooke Schwartz, Administration Reporter

After being canceled in 2016 and 2017, Celebration, an arts festival, returns this spring.

Anita Shelton, the interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said Tuesday at a Faculty Senate meeting the festival is a tradition at Eastern that was originally cut in 2016 because of low staffing.

Celebration is slated for April 20, 21 and 22 and will include many local artists, musicians and food vendors.

Dan Crews, the interim director of programming, publicity and promotions for the Doudna Fine Arts Center, said Celebration started in 1977 and has been a part of Eastern’s culture since, minus the past two years.

“When Celebration was canceled two years ago, we heard a lot about it,” Crews said. “A lot of people really missed it, and once we announced last year that Celebration was coming back, it’s been a little overwhelming, and it’s been great to hear how many people are getting excited for (the festival).”

Crews said Celebration is a great way to showcase Eastern’s faculty, students and campus.

The festival is not entirely planned as of yet, but some musical acts currently set to perform include Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Red Ransom and a ukulele program. Over 40 artists will sell their handcrafted products at the festival as well.

Celebration has brought over a quarter of a million visitors to Eastern’s campus since it started in 1977, Crews said.

Shelton said this festival is the perfect way to celebrate Eastern’s upward trend and Doudna’s 10-year anniversary.

Though the Doudna Fine Arts Center does not have the budget to spend on big parties for the anniversary, Shelton said Celebration can take the place of that.

“I think it’s consistent with our marketing campaign (and) with the message the president is trying to put out (that) EIU is back; we’re on the upswing,” Shelton said. “We do have things to celebrate. We’re dynamic, (and) we’re having fun.”

The Faculty Senate also discussed the naming committee, which senate chair Jemmie Robertson is a part of, and its specific charge.

Robertson said the debate over whether or not to rename Douglas Hall is only one specific proposal the committee was asked to look at.

The naming committee is also charged with looking over the senate’s request for funding either an annual workshop or discussion with themes centered around inclusion.

The Student Success Committee, which is looking at student services on campus, will have what is likely its last meeting on Friday, with a report expected sometime soon.

Provost Jay Gatrell said change, whether it comes from the Student Success Committee, the Workgroup Review Committee or anywhere else, needs to come for a reason.

“I do not believe in change for disruption’s sake,” Gatrell said. “If there’s going to be change, it has to resonate with our identity. It has to resonate with who our students are today and where they want to be.”

The Faculty Senate added time to the next meeting to address the recommendations in the Workgroup Review Committee’s report and to ask questions of its authors.

Workgroup Review Committee members looked at, among other things, ways to reorganize colleges and new programs for the university.

Eastern President David Glassman has asked the senate to review the recommendations and relay what comes of their discussions to him so he can better make a decision about which recommendations to start implementing.

Brooke Schwartz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].