By Samantha Jones

Contributing Writer

Guitar riffs, melodic voices and classical music echoed off the walls of faculty art in the Museum of Art this past Thursday as the “LiveArts!” open mic series launched to a welcoming crowd of students and friends.

Created by Emily Schultz, the Museum of Art’s educational intern and gallery attendant, the “LiveArts!” program arose from Schultz’s desire to bridge the gap between her passion for classical music and appreciation of the visual arts.

And for Schultz, a senior majoring in communication sciences and disorders, the creative and open space that was the art gallery made the perfect venue to do just that.

“I really wanted to find a way to utilize this space, and bridge the gap between music and art and get more people into the museum,” said Schultz. “The gallery’s acoustics are magnificent, which is perfect for an event like this.”

The night began at 6 p.m. in the downstairs gallery as guests sat at lit tables carefully arranged around the room full of art sculptures and paintings. A table of snacks and coffee supplied by Dunkin’ Donuts elevated the overall feel of the event’s coffee house format.

Performers, encouraged to sign-up with Schultz beforehand, arrived prepared with music sheets and instruments in-hand, ready to envelope the room with their musical talent while the supportive crowd eased their nerves.

For performer Aurora LaFond, a sophomore majoring in occupational therapy, the atmosphere of the unique venue proved particularly special.

“I’m not used to singing to people who are sitting down like this,” said LaFond after her set of acoustic songs, the majority of which were originals. “But I love the atmosphere. My friends are here, and there’s a bunch of new faces. It’s really nice.”

LaFond was just one of the many performers of the night who captivated the crowd with her skillfully played music. Performances that delighted the crowd included a song sung by a French vocalist, a saxophone player, to even a horn quartet featuring the creative force behind the event herself, Schultz.

While the night featured appreciation from a crowd of art and music supporters alike, many attendees found themselves venturing into the Museum of Art for the first time.

“I never really knew this place existed before tonight,” said Aline Oliveira, a junior Brazilian exchange student majoring in environmental engineering. “The performers are very good, I’m very impressed.”

“I think it’s great that so many people take the time to learn to play music, even outside of class, and now they get to perform for people. It’s good for them, and good for us to watch,” said Oliveira.

The next installment in the “LiveArts!” open mic series is Feb. 11 in the Museum of Art. Performers are asked to contact Emily Schultz at eaf87@wildcats.unh.edu to sign up.