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Image courtesy of NYUAD Arts Program

NYUAD Open Studios

Students, staff and faculty alike explore the facilities and opportunities on offer in the Arts Center at the annual Open Studios event.

On Nov. 12, the NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center turned into a labyrinth of over 60 exhibitions, activities, workshops and demonstrations for its annual Open Studios event, which welcomed all community members for the third year in a row. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the intricate hallways surrounding the theaters were packed with students, faculty, staff, children and visitors, who took the time to explore the large collection of things to see, do and eat.
Open Studios allows the NYUAD community to tour the Arts Center and what it has to offer in a fun and entertaining way. The 2018 edition of Open Studios coincided with the opening of Discomfort, an art exhibition by David Darts, Associate Dean of Arts and Program Head of Art and Art History, and the mini golf course titled Putting for Pleasure and Politics.
Several professors contributed to the mini golf course, including Professor of Visual Arts, Goffredo Puccetti, who was also involved in the planning of the event.
"It's meant to be not a showcase in the traditional sense. It doesn't happen at the end of the semester where everything is polished. It's like, OK; let's take a moment in time, pinup show. This is what's actually happening. You experience what's actually happening, not a polished perfectly fine-tuned presentation of its selected happy few projects," said Puccetti of the structure of the event.
Throughout the night, students could drop in to watch their peers code, work on Capstone projects or practice their music. Iván Budnik Pereira, Class of 2021, was one such student preparing to showcase how his piano skills have improved thanks to his hard work throughout the semester.
“It's a more relaxed option to perform without having all the pressure of doing it in the blue hall and it's like you can also show everything you've actually been working on so far,” said Budnik Pereira of his performance that night.
The event had a large turnout of students and faculty members, who participated in the many activities offered such as button making in Room 043 or giant games in the scene shop. The Interactive Media Lab became a playground for the night with LED jewelry and presentations of the projects showcased at the last Hackathon.
“I've always felt very strongly that it's really important for people from different departments to come and get familiar with other areas, and I wish we had more opportunities to interact with different departments,” said Michael Shiloh, Professor of Interactive Media, as he piloted a telepresence robot called Robonica around the hallways of The Arts Center.
Aside from providing an opportunity for the general public to get to know The Arts Center and its inner workings, the event was meant to be a source of inspiration for students, allowing them to physically see what the Arts program has to offer.
A constant challenge with the Arts Department and the Arts Center is getting students into the Arts Centers to explore the building and opportunities it has to offer. Open Studios showcases the many resources the Arts Center offers as well as the many arts majors students can pursue at NYUAD.
"What do we have to do to take you out of the dorm and come and see what's going on. Because in a sense there is also an opportunity to exchange, opportunity to get inspired. Do I love film? Do I love piano? Do I love VisArts? Do I love this? I don't know until the moment I'm exposed to it and maybe just walking in those corridors, you know, eating tacos, you see something that, who knows, it might actually, you know, impact your life. You might want to switch majors," added Puccetti.
According to some students, Open Studios has been successful in getting community members to explore the Arts Center and learn more about the different labs and classrooms held within its halls.
“There's so many resources that people are normally not aware of their university has. And normally if they do, they don't have access to them and don't know how to see them or would like to explore. So I think this event is perfect for that.” said Budnik Pereira.
Mari Velasquez-Soler is Deputy News Editor. Email her at
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