‘Seven Days’ opens today

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Tallahassee’s visual and performing arts festival, Seven Days of Opening Nights, presented by Florida State University. The festival will run from today until Feb. 24 and includes over a dozen performances and exhibits.

The festival began in 1999 as a seven-day event featuring visual arts, dance, music and theatre. Since then, it has grown tremendously. Last year there was a turnout of over 15,000 patrons.

“The initial idea was to spotlight the cultural and artistic wealth of the community. Put that together with globally renowned stars and get the world to know what’s happening in Tallahassee,” said Fran Conaway, a publicist for Seven Days.

The festival has recruited trio-Three Mo’ Tenors, Opera singer Denyce Graves and jazz legend Bill Taylor since the beginning.

Students and members of the community can look forward to shows including ballets, operas and a circus, said Kendra Wallace, 22, a communications intern for Seven Days and a senior business administration student from Pine Bluff, Ark.

“It’s interesting because it brings to Tallahassee a chance to see great acts that you would have to travel to see,” she said.

This year’s festival will feature renowned artists U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins, classical pianist Andre Watts and Alonzo King’s LINE Contemporary Ballet. Performances will include the world premier of “The General” with new original score, the south east premier of the creative circus Cirque EOS, and the one-woman play, “Rose.”

Ronald Joe, an assistant vice president for university relations, is a member of the Seven Days executive board. Joe said the festival would be good for FAMU students to attend to get a closer look into the arts.

“I hope FAMU students will go and participate. It’s important for us to cross cultural lines and enjoy the great acts that the event brings,” Joe said.

“There is something for every FAMU student from poetry to acting and (the students) maybe able to pick up a new technique.”

Conaway said Seven Days gives students exposure to some of the world’s best artists and performers.

“It is not only entertaining but it may be beyond anything they (students) have ever seen culturally,” she said.

For a complete schedule and more information about the performances, participants and sponsors log on to the festival’s official Web site: http://www.sevendaysfestival.org