Northwestern University’s Arts Circle Celebration

On June 4 members of the renowned Trisha Brown Dance Company will be dancing on multiple rooftops around Northwestern University’s Arts Circle, their classic work “Roof Piece” visually uniting the architecture of the circle and the arts across academic disciplines.

Later in the day, more than 150 cellists will infiltrate the campus in small groups with spontaneous mini-concerts before gathering for a massive performance on the Arts Circle lawn. 

Guests on that day also will encounter the towering “Grand Rapids Carousel” (1979), a 40-foot-long inflatable sculpture with multiple, lifelike arms and legs by the late German artist Otto Piene.

From sunrise to sunset, as part of the Arts Circle Celebration at Northwestern, the department of art theory and practice will host artists Aaron Hughes and Amber Ginsburg’s participatory “Tea Project,” highlighting debate over extralegal detention via “Tea Performances” and “Tea Teach-Ins.” 

These and other June 4 events mark a daylong celebration of Northwestern’s Arts Circle -- located on the southeast portion of the Evanston campus -- which welcomes patrons, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the larger community year-round to world-class exhibitions and performances. Representing the next chapter in Northwestern’s long history of arts excellence, the Arts Circle is a geographical location and a state of mind, embracing arts programming across the University’s many disciplines. 

The comprehensive online calendar artscircle.northwestern.edu, launched in early 2016, which is searchable by genre, venue and date, is an essential destination for the arts at Northwestern. The day’s celebration will feature world-famous artists as well as students from Northwestern and more than 50 other Chicago-area and North Shore schools.

The day will be highlighted by a keynote panel, “Why Art Matters,” composed of Northwestern faculty and alumna luminaries: poet and writer Stuart Dybek, jazz great Victor Goines, playwright Thomas Bradshaw, and art historian and curator Martha Tedeschi. The discussion will be moderated by Alison Cuddy of the Chicago Humanities Festival. Performance studies faculty scholar and artist E. Patrick Johnson will sing in the event, and University President Morton Schapiro will reflect on the crucial importance of the arts at Northwestern and in contemporary culture.

Free and open to the public, the Arts Circle Celebration events will take place outdoors (weather permitting) with the exception of the 1 p.m. keynote event in the University’s Ethel M. Barber Theater.

Click here for a list of events