Curtain Call: Founders of “Arts In the AUC” Speak on the Growth of the Organization
Jair Hilburn, Editor-In-Chief & Isaiah Johnson, Managing Editor
The Atlanta University Center (AUC) known for being a central spot for intellectual Black folk from all over the world to pursue a degree and leave world leaders and social changers. Behind the books, there are talents that are often left under the radar, but there is an organization that’s working to change that narrative.
In the midst of their sophomore year, Bryce Lampkin, Ashley Townsel, Jordyn Walston, Jaelan Sanon, Mark Anthony Davis, Evelyn Angarica, Leron Julian, and Jadè Henderickson decided to create a platform that will shine a light on the talent that is in the AUC. This lead to the creation of the organization Arts In The AUC.
Initially, there would be multiple forms of art – music, photography, spoken word, etc. – posted on their website until they decided to host a talent for all members of the AUC to partake in.
“I think I always heard of there being a talent show in the AUC, but then it tried to figure out why it didn’t continue,” Townsel said.
While all of them weren’t friends, they knew of each other, but as time went on that dynamic would change.
“For me, I felt like a newfound respect for each individual because I saw like their strengths and also their weaknesses that I never knew they had,” Sanon said.
Since they aren’t all alike, there was something that they could take away from one another to be better fit to fulfill their roles.
“I think for me, it was more of a learning experience being in a space where these different people have experiences outside the Arts In The AUC space and bringing them [into that] space,” Townsel said. “I think being among diverse people with diverse talents and techniques and expertise kind of helped me grow into a leader.”
The organization has gathered enough knowledge to know who is best suited to do specific tasks which came in handy for them putting together their latest show. While they hope it won’t be the last, they know the road won’t be easy because even though they are entering the third year on campus they aren’t officially registered. Through it all, they’ve learned that improvising is key.
“You can never stick to one idea,” Lampkin said. “For me, I like thinking on my feet. I don’t really like planning things out. If it goes wrong, it goes wrong, and if something stops it then you find another way around it.”
That philosophy has led them to go on to pull off their third talent show. While the show is used as a platform to showcase the different talents in the AUC, it also gives a platform to those who have never performed in front of an audience before which can garner new reactions but provide better results.
“At the last show, one of the girls had a panic attack, and I think we saw that this was these people’s first time ever performing, going out and making a name for themselves,” Walston said. “It’s a little scary to think about because with everyone that’s coming they come with their own fears and anticipations for it. But we think about how everyone really is a person, and then it’s crazy what you can make, if you just take a break and take time to learn that person.”
From being an idea to gain traction for their website to being on their third annual show, the Arts In The AUC show grew into an event that everyone in the AUC was going to show up for. The event, The Finale: Talent Show” at 6:30, is February 4 in King Chapel.