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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hanunder Arts Festival showcases student art, celebrates the arts community at Dartmouth

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Courtesy of Ivie Aiwuyo

From Feb. 22 to 24, the Hanunder Arts Festival transformed Sawtooth Kitchen into a space for the Dartmouth arts community to showcase student films, music and visual arts. The festival was produced by the Hopkins Center for the Arts fellows and their advisors from the staff Daniel Burmester and Lucy Biberman ’23. 

Lauren Kang ’25, the Hop fellow in charge of the production of the festival, said that the goal of Hanunder was not only to showcase student art but also to bring awareness to the student art community on campus.

“I think really the ultimate goal [of Hanunder] was to celebrate arts on campus and create a space for that kind of celebration,” Kang explained. “A lot of times ... it seems like there’s a bit of a separation between arts at Dartmouth and people outside of the immediate arts community. Being able to open that up to more students and involve students was the ultimate goal.”

Each day of the festival was assigned a specific theme designed to reflect the shared values of the Hop fellows, as well as how the festival was meant to impact festival goers each night. These themes, in order, were “Embrace,” “Aspire” and “Transcend.”

“At the very beginning of our meeting back in the fall, we actually established as fellows what our values were,” Kang said. “That is what the themes came from … [They’re] words that I think encompass the purpose of each night.” 

The first night of the festival, “Embrace,” featured student films by filmmakers, including Malik Terrab ’25, Brandon Mioduszewski ’25 and Sascha Agenor ’25. These films covered a variety of styles and topics, including documentaries, stop-motion animation films and films centered around social activism.

“The idea of ‘Embrace’ was to start off this festival series with a focus on community,” Kang said. “And for me, in particular, I think ‘Embrace’ meant all of us sitting together, watching those films. For the purpose of celebrating this art and embracing the nature of what Hanunder is meant to be.”

Agenor’s film “Resignation Letter” was a stop-motion animated film featuring handmade, felt characters. The film intends to highlight the importance of veganism and the ethics of animal agriculture. According to Agenor, they were inspired by the importance that veganism has for preserving animal rights. They wanted to create a film that would prompt a discussion of these relevant ethical issues.

“I think people have a very rigid perspective on how they treat animals,” Agenor said. “I just hope that people had a conversation starting in their brains and that it extends to their families [and] to their friends. I think veganism is really what would save the world.”

On the next two nights of the festival, Hanunder featured jazz quartets, short theatrical plays, pop bands, a DJ set and a drag show by the House of Lewan.

Agenor noted that Hanunder was able to foster a sense of community between different artists on campus by bringing them all together.

“Hanunder was created by such a brilliant collection of artists … I think there has been a recent drive at Dartmouth to spotlight the arts because that hasn’t been Dartmouth’s primary focus for a while,” Agenor said. “There are so many people doing cool things in the arts. I was so happy [that my film was] screened alongside my friends that I worked with.”

The festival also served as a bridge that connected students who were in the arts community with those who were curious to learn more about it. One Hanunder attendee, Sidney Marsh ’24, noted the importance of attending the festival so she could get tap into the full range of experiences offered at Dartmouth during her final year as an undergraduate student.

“I’ve never been to a specific festival for the arts, so it was really great to have that [first experience with] a student perspective — getting to see your peers create artwork,” Marsh said. “I thought that was awesome.”

With such a wide range of performances, Hanunder allowed artists and non-artists alike to experience the joy that art has to offer — especially during a time when the Hop is closed for construction, and the arts community on campus does not have one centralized space.

“My favorite part about this whole experience [was] just working with other individuals that wanted to foster arts here,” Kang said. “That has been really lovely because not only are we getting to know each other and our own forms of art, but we’re also reaching out and going to the community and seeing how we can bring more art and joy to even more people.”