Not Your Average Spring Gala
Monica Lenius
The Encore of the Dreyfus University Center resembled an old jazz club by its featured talent and intimate atmosphere on Saturday, Feb. 18. The Spring Gala, organized collectively by Centertainment, the Black Student Union and Arts Alliance showcased live jazz music from the Alex Maronek Quartet, a Juried Art Show, and slam poetry.

The art show held no specifications, allowing artists to make their own decisions about what they wanted to submit. From paintings to sculptures, the best of show were selected out of 33 applicants to be displayed at this event. Five pieces out of the best in show were then picked as honorable mentions. The top three out of the honorable mentions were awarded cash prizes; however, each left with an opportunity.

“Each of the five honorable mentioned art pieces will be given the chance to display their art in the DUC. It is the artist’s decision; however, if they agree, the art will be on year loan to the DUC,” said Trevor Fyler, Center Stage coordinator for Centertainment Productions.

​Freshman Emmitt Williams performs one of his
spoken word pieces. Photo by Samantha Feld.

Roughly 100 students showed up to what Fyler described as an event “by students for students that allowed one to experience art, music, and spoken word. The point of Centertainment is to provide student involvement in special opportunities and that’s what really got us going with the idea of an all-student art show.”

As for the spoken word performance of the evening, one individual couldn’t help but stand out. Emmitt Williams closed out the show after six poems. A self-described artist, comic and musician, this freshman blew many away with his ‘Killadelphia’ monologue: “Welcome to Philadelphia. Just watch your back wherever you go. They might try to kill you, but you’re going to love it here.” He wrote this a week and a half before this open mic event.

Inspired by his two favorite artists, Common, the rapper/poet, and Kanye West, Williams has been writing spoken word poems since his freshman year in high school.

Jazz music at the Spring Gala was provided by the Alex Meronek
Quartet.  Photo by Samantha Feld
“I can usually get my stories done in a week if I work on them consistently. I usually just draw inspiration from average everyday stuff. I tend to write about things I find funny … or my mom. However, the first line has to be the most engaging,” Williams said.

As an upcoming contestant for the poetry slam state competition in Milwaukee on March 10, it’s clear that this event brought in the right kind of crowd for this event.

For more information on upcoming Centertainment events, check out their Facebook page at UWSP Centertainment Productions.