Last Friday, NYU Shanghai opened up its doors to the arts. Over three days, Student Government, specifically the Events Committee, led by sophomore Meizhi Ng, held events catered towards those with a driving passion for music, dance, theater, and fine art. As the first event of its kind at NYU Shanghai, the festival is to be the first of many initiatives that aim to highlight the talents of students, as well as promote interest in the fine arts and performance.

The festival was commenced by a three-hour studio, for both beginner and advanced students, that taught students basic calligraphy, painting and drawing skills. On Saturday, students were encouraged to attend masterclasses and seminars by local artists, as well as a Graffiti Walk. The Graffiti Walk took place at the M50 Art District, where graffiti by Shanghai local covers the walls and the perimeter of M50. Students also had the opportunity to spray-paint specific sections of the wall, leaving a mark on the Shanghai art scene.

In addition to hands-on activities, the festival also included performances by local Shanghai artists, such as as the Jazz performance by Anne Evenou on Sunday night. Originally from France, Evenou built up her career in the U.S. and China, and attended the Shanghai Music Conservatory. The works of NYU Shanghai students were also exhibited on Sunday, as part of the art courses available to students, including works from courses such as the Introduction to Studio Art and Introduction to Photography, as well as extra-curricular classes.

For freshman Ben Weilun Zhang, the Festival of the Arts allowed him to “appreciate art from both peers and artists, which was a new experience. Unfortunately, I don’t think that most students know about the activities [involving the arts] that we are working on – not necessarily this festival, but, generally speaking.”

According to the Events Committee, the festival was intended to “increase the amount of art on campus” and give exposure to student talent. However, such exposure is not easy to achieve at a college that does not have a secure arts program. Potentially, with increased interest and larger participation in events such as this festival, arts at NYU Shanghai can blossom and begin to cater to the talents and interests of each and every student.

For NYU Shanghai, this was the first college-wide event that attempted to link together the arts with a string of interactive and hands-on events. For Michelle Huang, “I think the Festival of the Arts has allowed gifted students at our school to hone their artistic, creative side. The students and staff in charge of the festival have put in a lot of effort to make this a success, and it definitely showed.”

This article was written by Bella Farr. Send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Ben Weilun Zhang

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