Nuit blanche

Students, moms and community members enjoying Nuit Blanche

Photographer: Chris Franz

Nuit Blanche

Fathers of the Revolution perform at the Front Room in Baker University Center as part of the Nuit Blanche

Photographer: Chris Franz

Nuit Blanche

Crowd watches one of the musical performers during Nuit Blanche

Photographer: Chris Franz

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Nuit Blanche festival showcases artistic and cultural diversity

On Saturday, uptown Athens was inhabited by a fast paced, culturally sweeping playground for the arts.

Dance, theater, music, visual art and a variety of different cultures came together for the first Nuit Blanche arts festival in Athens. The event gave moms, students and community members a chance to discover their inner artist through performances and workshops.

The festival began Saturday at 5:03 p.m. and ended Sunday at 3:05 a.m. Venues such as the Baker University Center Front Room, Arts West, Donkey Coffee and Inhale Yoga Studio kept their doors open late while artist after artist brought with them a crowd of participants.

Zelma Badu-Younge, professor in the School of Dance, and Paschal Yao Younge, professor in the School of Music, directed the event. Nuit Blanche (meaning white night in French), is a free all-night festival of the arts that occurs annually in major cities such as Toronto, Paris, and New York.

Throughout the night, Donkey Coffee's stage hosted five musical performances, an Azonto (a contemporary dance in Ghana) workshop and a performance by Ohio University dance majors.

Freshman volunteer Nichole Morales was stationed at Donkey Coffee for the night to sign in performers and participants.

"It was so loud in this little coffee shop," said Morales. "It was so cool that they (the Azonto dancers) shared their dance and then got the audience to join in."

Many students enjoyed getting first-hand experience of the art forms that exist in Athens and in cultures throughout the world.

"The Nuit Blanche festival was really fun, it's definitely awesome to see all of the new cultures that exist in Athens and getting to see people express what they love to do," said student Kaitlyn Mazzino at a Polynesian dance workshop.

While many of the events took place inside, there were also events happening right on Court Street.

The Ohio University printmaking department made and sold prints in front of the Athens County Courthouse in a circus tent and saxophone, trombone and trumpet solos took place in front of Mountain Laurel Gifts.

"When I was just walking up Court Street, there were people playing live music, dancing and selling art, so for the mom's it's really nice for them to be able to see that," said Morales.

The vision behind Nuit Blanche was to celebrate the arts and provide fun activities for moms and students to participate in.

"For me it's adults playing," said Younge. "People work hard in these economic times, maybe they can experience something new and discover the artist inside."

The Younge's said they plan to host the event again next year.