A Celebration of Diversity in SMSU’s Annual Art Festival: 9 Years of Diversity and Culture – 9th Annual International Art Festival


Kevin Danielson, Staff Writer

Chinese lanterns and national flags surround the stage of the Conference Center Ballroom as a reminder of the culture International students of SMSU bring to the school. On Nov. 13, the ninth annual International Art Festival celebrated the school’s diversity by featuring cultural performances and international cuisine.
“The main thing is bringing diversity in the school, so others can learn about these cultures,” said International Student Organization adviser Ajeev Shah.
Among the night’s performances were dances showing the cultures of India, Korea, and Nepal, as well as songs from Taiwan, Nepal, and the United States. Performed during the event included the Taiwanese song “Wo Bu Nan Guo (I Am Not Sad)” and English song “The First Cut is the Deepest.”
Showing how different cultures can come together, the sixth performance of the night was a three piece band consisting of Taylor Hulk, Sankalpa Chetteri, and James Saydee, who hail from South Dakota, Nepal, and the Twin Cities respectively.
“You don’t think we’d have much in common, but music brought us together,” said Hulk.
Involved with the International Art Festival since the beginning is Director of International Student Services Don Robertson.
“We recruit students who have talent and really know their culture to perform,” said Robertson.
Different from previous years, the ninth annual show finished the night with a salsa dancing demonstration from Associate Professor of History Dr. Thomas Williford.
“It was pretty hard for a bit, but it was a good experience,” said Shah. “No one was sitting, everyone was moving around. Dr. Thomas Williford does a great job.”
Above all, it was a night filled with students representing their countries and bringing different cultures together.
“The students do a really superb job on it,” said Robertson. “It’s a fun event.”