Gallatin Arts Festival showcases student creativity, chaos

By Bryna Shuman, Staff Writer


Video game retellings of legendary Greek epics, short plays on mental illness told through the eyes of psychiatric patients, and a short comedy sketch about a plane ride gone wrong are only a few of the interesting performances occurring at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study this week.

From April 8 to April 12, Gallatin will present the annual Gallatin Arts Festival. Since its inauguration in 1992, the festival has become the largest public event sponsored by Gallatin every year. The weeklong celebration showcases the unique artistry and interdisciplinary work of Gallatin students in the visual and performing arts.

“The Gallatin Arts Festival is a learning experience emphasizing the development of ideas and collaboration,” said Kristin Horton, a professor at Gallatin and the festival organizer. “We’re particularly interested in work that serves as a springboard for action and dialogue.”

Gallatin students are chosen to be featured in the festival through a highly selective application process that takes place each fall. Students also help organize the events.

“The festival team looks for students interested in curating, producing and community engagement, among other things, to serve as members of the student leadership team,” Horton said. “Under guidance from members of the Gallatin faculty, the student team then produces and presents the festival each spring.”

This year’s festival has expanded to include two new initiatives: an art forum series and Gallatin Arts Festival Global, an installation displaying work from students studying abroad. The art forum series features panel discussions following several of the festival’s performances, and will begin with a panel discussion after the screening of “A Piece of Forgotten History” by junior Monica Cortez on April 9. Guest panelists include widely known figures such as Sylvia Mendez, an acclaimed civil rights activist.

GAF Global will feature photograpy by Gallatin students who are currently studying abroad at NYU’s global academic centers. The photographs focus on small details that are familiar to local eyes, yet unique from the perspective of student visitors. GAF Global is curated by junior Emma Hazan and senior Alex Craig under the direction of professor Nina Katachadourian.

Nicole Johnson, a Gallatin junior studying ethical management and production, will present in the festival this year. Collaborating with fellow Gallatin student Andrea Torres, Johnson’s piece “God is Love” shares recorded conversations about the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity through a presentation of dance choreography and spoken word.

Johnson said her Gallatin education has prepared her for the festival.

“Participating in the festival is such a privilege,” Johnson said. “Gallatin has given me the chance to create platforms for mutual understanding and fostering peace through art and conversation.”

All events at the Gallatin Arts Festival are free and require an RSVP. A full list of events can be found at

A version of this article was published in the Monday, April 8 print edition. Bryna Shuman is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]