Arts Transcending Borders Hosts Virtual Arts Festival

Kelly Gallagher ’22


As midterms loomed, Arts Transcending Borders invited community members to a fun respite for art-lovers. On Friday, October 2, from 3-5 p.m. ET, ATB held their celebration Discover: Arts at Holy Cross. Workshops were hosted by a variety of departments and programs at the College of the Holy Cross and welcomed participants eager to connect through the arts. 

The celebration offered a variety of immersive events. The first round of events consisted of 40-minute long workshops and included activities such as “Improv Games,” “Zoom Choir,” and a workshop on Notan, which is a Japanese design concept combining light and dark shapes. In the next round, students attended two consecutive 20-minute long “samplers,” which included a video effects demonstration called “Pixel Playground” and a Beatmaking Workshop.

Though engagement can often be difficult over Zoom, ATB overcame the challenge, and the interactive nature of their activities was especially welcome in the remote environment. Attendees enjoyed a nice balance of presentation and participation. For example, in a jazz dance activity hosted by Audra Carabetta, visiting lecturer of Dance, dance students performed choreography from their class, and then attendees had the opportunity to learn part of the routine. 

Logo and photos courtesy of ATB. Graphic design by Olivia Lynch ’24.

Another one of the sampler events featured Martha Redbone, a Native & African American vocalist/songwriter/composer/educator, according to her website. Ms. Redbone briefly introduced attendees to her musical and cultural heritage, discussing her current work on a song cycle which explores the intersections between the issues of the early 1900s and the issues of today. The meeting with Ms. Redbone also served as a preview to her later virtual appearance with ATB on October 8, in which she and her artistic & life partner Aaron Whitby discussed their song cycle.  

Discover: Arts at Holy Cross concluded with a social mixer, which was attended by a group of enthusiastic students and faculty members. Attendees had the opportunity to introduce themselves, chat with others, and answer a few fun Zoom polls together. In addition, Taylor Travassos-Lomba, visiting lecturer of Dance, shared music and a hip-hop routine with the community members. Rachel Harding ‘21, a student in his Hip Hop/Breaking class, joined in the fun to demonstrate her own hip-hop skills. Harding shared with The Spire, “I really liked the event. It was so fun to see everyone supporting each other, especially when I danced for the group. I could feel how excited people were and it was awesome!”

Yonca Karakilic, Director of Arts Transcending Borders, shared the planning and organization process behind the event with The Spire. She wrote in an email, “Our original plan was to host an outdoors arts festival for the campus community, modeled on the festival we’ve been hosting for the last three years for high school students from Worcester Public Schools. Once the administration made the decision to go fully online, we changed course and began discussing a virtual event. The planning group included faculty, staff and SAC co-chairs from the three arts departments, ATB and the Cantor Art Gallery. With a desire to host an event relatively early in the semester to welcome incoming students into our arts community, we got to work immediately. In addition to the SAC representatives involved in the planning, you may have noticed several students involved as workshop assistants, session guides, and –behind-the-scenes — as technical hosts.” 

Ms. Karakilic also reflected on the event’s significance during the remote semester.  “It was a powerful experience to see our arts community come together and share a wide range of offerings available to students. It was also a big learning experience – while some things translate surprisingly well into the virtual space, others do not….”

She concluded, “Gathering together is so central to the arts, and we’ll continue to seek ways to make the best of the tools available to us at this moment … until we can be physically together again!”

Discover: Arts at Holy Cross was organized by Arts Transcending Borders with support from the departments of Music, Theatre & Dance, and Visual Arts, as well as the Cantor Art Gallery and the Student Advisory Board Chairs. For more opportunities to enjoy a variety of innovative artistic projects this semester, tune into BLACK SPRING: Music and Activism with Samora Pinderhughes, an ATB event which will livestream on Wednesday, October 14, at 7 p.m. ET to

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