Spark The Movement

Credit: Lisa Qian/ Credit: Lisa Qian/ Credit: Lisa Qian/ Credit: Lisa Qian/ Credit: Lisa Qian/ Credit: Lisa Qian/

Having so many different challenges to face in today’s world, we as a community should take the time every now and then to reflect, to let others within and outside our community know that we are here to support and care for one another. Events like Friday’s Spark the Movement Showcase give us that kind of opportunity to reconnect and shine light on pressing issues and topics that are very relevant to us in our current society.

The showcase was a project by fifth-year scholar Rachel Freer, who has always seen art as a powerful way to communicate messages on some of the most sensitive topics of our time. Subjects like mental health, ethnicity, and feminism (just to name a few) were represented in the visual and performance art pieces created by students from all over the university. The hour and a half long event was a great way of allowing more voices to be heard in the community, and a way of embracing the diversity on campus.

Before the live performances, visitors were able to view pieces of visual artwork made by students, which focused on topics related to self-identity and gender. The depiction of these concepts in the students’ works were very genuine and honest. For example, one of the pieces was a collection of photos that responded to society’s view of women’s fashion, while another was a self portrait of a student whose cultural heritage was the focus of the piece. Displaying all the artwork at the very front of the room helped make clear that the primary intention of the event was to create a comfortable and safe space for everyone.

The student performances were equally moving, and certainly left the audience feeling inspired at the end. The first performance, titled “Finding Your Power,” was by Carnegie Mellon’s female a cappella group, Counterpoint, in which they they sang two songs that focused on empowering all women and building the confidence to stand up for the equal treatment everyone deserves. The talented group clearly put a lot of emotion and soul into their performance, which helped them successfully get their message across to the audience.

The second performance was a dance piece titled “The Edge of It,” choreographed by Michaelina McGee, a student at Chatham University, that portrayed the challenges that come with a mental illness like depression. The dancing in this performance was beautiful and provided a very liberating experience for everyone in the room. The purpose of this piece was to raise awareness of mental illness, and to help others better understand the difficult situations people are dealing with but may not be very vocal about. Throughout the event, there were several other inspiring dance and song performances, as well as a few incredible spoken word pieces.

The entire show exhibited a different aspect of the culture on campus. Oftentimes, we as students get so busy and overwhelmed by our work that we don’t even notice those around us. The diversity in culture, ethnicity, sexuality, and talent are what really shape the community at Carnegie Mellon. This event helped the audience realize how much more there is to learn about the people campus. If you’re interested in seeing the event, click on the following link to check out a recording of it!


List of performances:
1. "Finding Your Power" — Counterpoint
2. "The Edge of It" — Michaelina McGee
3. "Some Assembly Required" — Javier Spivey
4. "Voodoo Bag" — Josh Brown and Amy Lee
5. "Chivalry is Dead" — Angie Wang and Albert Du
6. "I'm Here If You Need Me" — Yiyi Zhao
7. "Parental Advice" and "Baby Don't Cry" — Jacqueline Puschmann
8. "Start Over Again" — Amy Lee
9. "When Your Feet Don't Touch the Ground" — Angela Ng and Shreya Desikan
10. "Cherry Wine" — Infra Dance Company
11. "My Skin" — Rob Stephens
12. "We Won't Live Afraid" — Jordon Bolden