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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Mic Check, 1, 2

Some were showcasing their personal poetry, while others were doing comedy routines for extra credit. Whether a lover of the limelight or the typical wallflower, Open Mic Night was an opportunity for artistic expression.

Pierce students took to the stage during the open mic event, hosted by the English Department, on May 2 in The Great Hall.

English Department chair Donna Accardo said the event provides students with a way to present their art.

“I think it gives people a forum to express themselves, show off their work, or maybe just say something that is important to them,” Accardo said.

April Garcia, English student, was initially intrigued by the potential to boost her grade when she decided to come to Open Mic night. After seeing what it was about, she was inclined to attend future events.

“I first heard about this event as an extra credit opportunity for English 101,” Garcia said. “It was my first time coming here, but I really liked the open mic experience. Some of it was funny, some of it was serious, but it was a good mix. I’d definitely like to come back.”

Biology student Mai Guiao followed her curiosity and attended Open Mic Night, leaving with the possibility of having her own work published.

“I really love poetry and write some of my own, so when I saw the posters around campus, I figured I’d come check it out,” Guiao said. “I thought it was pretty cool, and it inspired me to submit to Directions magazine. At this event, I was able to meet with Professor Anderson, who provided guidance on how to submit my work.”

English Professor Emily Anderson said the event is good for strengthening the artistic community at Pierce.

“Open Mic Night builds a sense of community,” Anderson said. “Often, students just come to class and leave. Studies show that the more time students spend on campus, whether through extra-curricular activities, clubs or just hanging out in the cafeteria, the more likely they are to complete their courses and feel positively about their school. I think this sort of event fosters a sense of community and togetherness.”

Anderson referenced her own experience as a more demure student, noting the potential benefit of an experience like this for someone who is similarly reserved.

“When I was a student, I was very shy,” Anderson said. “Something like this would have seemed terrifying, but doing it might have helped me feel more confident and social. For a lot of students, it boosts confidence to stand up and have people listen. They feel heard.”

Originally used as platform for artists featured in Directions magazine to promote their work, Open Mic Night has become an opportunity for any artist at Pierce to share their work.

Formally held once a year, the event’s popularity led the English Department to increase the frequency to once a semester. Anderson said there has been all sorts of performances at the events.

“The Open Mic Nights are open to any kind of art,” Anderson said. “We’ve had dancers and music, as well as people performing skits and comedy routines. It’s inter-disciplinary. Even though it’s an English Department event, it’s totally open.”

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