Arts Invasion Day is a chance for students in the art departments on campus to share their passions with the rest of the student body. Every year, students in music, dance, theatre or visual arts create their crafts outside to bring awareness to the joys of art and performance.

Emma Ward, a senior art education major, participated in one of people’s favorite events that happen on Arts Invasion Day: the ceramics wheel.

“This year I am throwing outside of Frey and just showing people what the process of wheel throwing in ceramics looks like,” Ward said. “Last year, I participated in the chalk drawing outside of Boyer, the ceramics wheel and the art bombing on the fence.”

Throughout the day, there were groups of students crowding around the ceramics wheel, waiting for their turn to try their hand at creating pottery.

Aimee Kulp, a senior dance and English double major with a theatre minor, enjoyed her time dancing outside with her fellow students in an outdoor performance choreographed by Professor Gregg Hurley.

“It was a great time to enjoy our art outdoors and also worship the Lord,” Kulp said. “The dances had a focus of trying to claim the space and they were a form or prayer as well. It was neat that we did so much to focus on community with each other while also spreading our community out into the larger Messiah campus.”

A key component to Arts Invasion Day every year is the collaboration between different art forms and disciplines.

Will Labossiere, a senior percussion performance major, had the opportunity to work with other musicians, as well as dancers, on Tuesday.

“I was out there by myself soloing, doing my own thing and working on my improvisation. I don’t have music at all,” Labossiere said. “When I’m with the dancers, I listen to what Professor Hurley is saying and watch to see what the movements are. I just go off the movements and try to emulate that with the sound. It’s challenging but I just love collaborating with people.”

For students of all disciplines, Arts Invasion Day is an opportunity to make the work they do known to others who might not typically be involved in the arts on campus.

“I like Arts Invasion because it gets people interested in what we’re doing and people realize what we’re doing is a real thing and not just arts and crafts,” Ward said. “I’ve done research upon research on these things. Arts Invasion engages the everyday person versus just art student to art student.”

Arts Invasion Day can educate other students on the arts and also bring enjoyment into their day.

“For the rest of the Messiah community who don’t get to see artists much, it gives us a chance to show them what we’re doing and to show them that we’re alive and that we’re creating on campus. It’s a chance to make a day fun and bring joy and beauty to it,” Kulp said.

For some musicians like Labossiere, it is the experience of playing outside that makes the day special.

“I’m a performance major and I love to perform, it’s what I want to do,” Labossiere said. “Performing outside for people who don’t normally get exposed to this kind of stuff is very important for what we do and more importantly why we do it. We want exposure and we want people to maybe give jazz a chance.”

The idea of performing outside and the many unknowns can be daunting for artists but that is just part of the process.

Labossiere is no stranger to challenges of improving during a performance. 

“Part of the joy that people don’t know about is embracing the mistakes. The whole point of performing out in public, is if you make a mistake you just have to embrace it,” he said.

Embracing mistakes and being able to roll with them can make or break an artist.

“A lot of people think in music, dance and other art forms, that when you mess up that’s bad. Like you’ve committed an atrocious error or crime with no coming back from it,” Labossiere said. “If I mess up, I just keep going. Don’t crucify artists for making a mistake because they’re just trying out something new and getting out of their comfort zones.”

For almost all of the artists participating in Arts Invasion Day, this was their first live performance after creating at home for months during quarantine. Adjusting to new circumstances and mistakes was all part of the process in order to get back into performing.

Many arts students had a difficult time continuing their work while being stuck at home so returning to campus was particularly joyful for them.

“Being alone during COVID-19 was very challenging. For dance, it was hard not being with each other and not having enough space to dance fully without hitting things,” Kulp said. “I’ve been feeling very blessed to step into a studio and be with others while dancing. We’re just enjoying the floor, the open space, the ballet barre and being with each other.”

Labossiere has enjoyed creating on campus again and working towards his senior recital.

“I get to practice on all my instruments, which is great,” Labossiere said. “When I was in quarantine, it was devastating to be away from my instruments. Last semester, I was able to take some instruments home but it was quite challenging to accommodate everything that I needed to do.”

Other students, like Ward, had a more positive experience while creating from home.

“This might sound crazy, but COVID-19 has actually impacted my art a lot in a beneficial way,” Ward said. “I ended up making my own at home studio during quarantine. I purchased a wheel and was committed to the process of learning even though I was taken away from school.”

Ward’s adaptability led her to grow as a visual artist.

“If I didn’t have that summer time to be able to do those things, then I wouldn’t be where I’m at in my artistry now. I’m just really thankful for that time even though it was really hard. It taught me a lot about what it looks like to have a working at home studio. It’s actually only increased my ability in pottery and my love for what I do,” Ward said.

Kulp, Labossiere and Ward all want to encourage more students to get involved in the arts on campus.

Students of any major can take an art, music or dance class for a general education requirement or a wellness credit. If you have prior experience, you can audition for a performance or join an ensemble.

Acclamation Dance Ministry and other student-run clubs are also available for students looking to experience the arts hands-on for the first time.

Labossiere wants to motivate students to just get out and try creating art.

“A misconception with art is that you have to belong to a club, ensemble or studio in order to participate. You can just create art anywhere at any time. If you want to get into that, just get into it,” he said.

Start asking questions and learning about art without fear of failure.

“The best way to practice at being an artist is to fail at it,” Labossiere said. “If you want to go do something, just go fail and eventually you’ll figure it out. That’s how it was for me.”