Weber State University students who enjoy the arts and free activities might be interested in the all-age entertainment events that are hosted by the Browning Center and Kimball Arts Center, which they have access to in the community and on campus.
Jazz at the Station is an example of such a program that is an all-age, free jazz concert open to the community, with a donated venue located at the Union Station, as well as donated time and talents from local jazz artists. The program runs on the calendar for 12 performances a year every second Wednesday of the month, and sometimes showcases students from the WSU Jazz Ensemble.
“It tends to not only be a program for our students, but it attracts a lot of people from the community as well,” said Caril Jennings, marketing director for the WSU Visual and Performing Arts Department.
Jennings said that the crowd can reach up to 200 people because of Jazz at the Station’s reputation, and that she sees the program as a way to reach out to the community, to attract them to other events open to the public that are held on campus.
The band Shaky Trade was the featured act of the night earlier this month for Jazz at the Station, and some of the band members hold their roots as WSU alumni.
“Ogden is such a weird place, because it has a really vibrant art community, and it’s cool to have the support of Weber State as a big part of that,” said Christopher Clemons, trumpet player for Shaky Trade and graduate of WSU with a music performance degree.
With a calendar loaded with constant events, the Performing Arts Department’s featured event would most likely be their theater season. The fall season starts with the Shakespearean classic Romeo and Juliet, premiering on Oct. 7 and running through Oct. 15. Then follows the musical Xanadu, opening on Nov. 4. There will also be a production of the Euripides traditional Greek play Iphigenia and Tauris, which will be shown on Aug. 28 during WSU’s annual Greek festival.
The Tuesday performances of Romeo and Juliet and Xanadu are free to any WSU student with a current Wildcard. The tickets are only available an hour before the performance, so people are encouraged to arrive early because of the first-come-first-serve policy.
The Kimball Arts Center has their own outreach for art enthusiasts in the community with seasonal free outreach programs and their series of artist lectures and exhibitions.
The Arts in the Parks program, directed by WSU history professor Kathryn Mackay and Kimball Arts Center Outreach coordinator Linda Gravis, has just finished its second season and was a program modeled after the five-year-running Science in the Parks programs.
“Universities can tend to be sort of an academic bubble within a community,” Gravis said. “I’m interested in advancing efforts on behalf of Weber State to integrate more with the general community as far as outreach opportunities and activities go.”
Arts in the Parks is a summer opportunity where children and their families can participate in free arts activities for an entire week, with different themes each week, such as music, dance, visual arts, theater, and performing and literary arts, which was a partnered effort of the Weber County Library.
Snow Days at the Shaw Gallery is their winter community activity that was started in 2009 and is a bilingual arts program held the first Saturday of each winter month. The program is free, with the gallery remaining open and activities being held by art students in the lobby, with at least one instructor fluent in Spanish and English.
“When you take something to a certain demographic in the community, it’s more effective than when you’re expecting that population to come to something you’re putting on in a different location,” Gravis said.
The artist lectures and exhibitions are free to students as well. The first exhibition, featuring fine arts photographer Edward Burtynsky, begins Aug. 15 and runs through Nov. 22, with a public lecture by the artist on Sept. 16.
Other events can be found by checking the performing and visual arts calendars on the school’s website, or by contacting the WSU Performing Arts Department by calling 801- 626-6800 and the Kimball Visual Arts Center at 801-626-6455.
“In some college towns, everything goes on campus; in others, everything goes on downtown,” Jennings said. “I don’t believe Ogden is like that.”