The fourth Off Knox had a new twist March 7, as it combined with another running Knox event, Artsplosion. Off Knox Coordinator post-baccalaureate Chris Astwood and Artsplosion Coordinator post- baccalaureate Kate Schlachter have discussed combining the events for some time, but agreed that they wanted to establish each event’s individual structure and character first.
Artsplosion has typically been an informal improvisation-oriented event while Off Knox has been established as a more structured affair. Individuals were pleased with the blend of events, feeling that they brought the best of both environments together. Astwood expressed the hope that they would continue to combine on occasion in addition to their separate future events.
The event was held at the recently opened Galesburg Community Center located at 123 S. Cherry Street. A number of Galesburg residents attended and contributed to the event. One of the Community Center’s missions is to be a place where Knox students and the Galesburg community can interact.
“I did some research into the history of former interactions between the campus and the Galesburg community and it used to be much more common and integrated,” said junior and co-founder of the Knox’s Zine Club, Kaley Morlock.
Morlock, who will be taking over as coordinator of Artsplosion when Sclachter leaves, expressed enthusiasm about using The Center again, saying that she has a lot of ideas she is excited to try for events to come.
In addition to the participation of the Galesburg community, Off Knox also welcomed two of the latest, budding arts publication groups from campus: Zine Club and the Cowboy Killers Press, both of which had tables at the event encouraging participation. The Cowboy Killers showed off their homemade printing press, while the Zine Club encouraged Off Knox participants to make a zine page for a special Off Knox zine edition.
“I have no idea how many pages we got,” said co-founder of Zine Club junior Klayr Valentine-Fossum, “but they were all really cool.”
Fossum hopes to continue bringing Zine Club to Off Knox and Artsplosion events as long as they are invited, a sentiment co-founder Morlock echoed. She felt that the Cowboy Killers and Zine Club were a refreshing and less formal opportunity for students on campus to submit art and create art without being overly intimidated. Cowboy Killers and Zine Club seem to follow the style of Off Knox and Artsplosion as they present an opportunity for people to express themselves in an open environment.
Many people who showed up found that there was a line outside the doors to get in. The audience could be heard doing everything from laughing at songs about unicorns to giving respectful applause for political spoken word.
“I hope Off Knox continues to grow in participation and diversity,” said Astwood. “I want it to be something that extends into every department so that we might even get guys coming in and talking about their workout routines in addition to the poetry and the songs.”
The pieces from Artsplosion started Off Knox 4 impressively and created a wonderful ambiance for the performances to come. The success of Off Knox/Artsplosion has exceeded both Schlachter and Astwood’s expectations and will hopefully only keep growing.
“How a community supports the arts provides insight into how the community views itself.” –James E. Rogers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cinergy Corp.