Community shares creativity at open mic

Liam Udziela, freshman business administration major, presents nine of his drawings at the Creative Expression and Open Mic Night on Tuesday in the Ludwick Center Sacred Space. He explained that this one in particular is his most popular online. / photo by Kaylie Ennis
Liam Udziela, freshman business administration major, presents nine of his drawings at the Creative Expression and Open Mic Night on Tuesday in the Ludwick Center Sacred Space. He explained that this one in particular is his most popular online. / photo by Kaylie Ennis

Kamila De La Fuente
Assistant Editor

The University of La Verne community shared creative works in the Ludwick Center Sacred Space on Tuesday for the Libraries and Learning Commons’ Creative Expression and Open Mic Night

The event took place from 6 to 8 p.m. and opened the floor to musicians, singers, artists across many disciplines and mediums, dancers and even a crocheter, all from the ULV community. 

Selena Cordar, Academic Success Center promotions coordinator, helped organize the event and made a feature as the host in her lively introductions of each of the participants. You could see her bopping in the front row, her pink hair vibrant, with a clipboard in hand. 

“At the Academic Success Center, we really push people to be open with themselves and want everyone to feel welcomed,” Cordar said. “We felt that the arts were really underrepresented at ULV. We wanted to put an event that gave people the opportunity to showcase their talents that often goes unnoticed.” 

Cordar said they have been preparing for this event since August, with the initial idea of hosting an open mic. This idea evolved into a creative expression night that would in turn, be more inclusive of all the arts. 

This month, Cordar and her peers at the Academic Success Center, have been hard at work both booking the space and encouraging people to register for the event. Tables were set up in front of The Spot and Barbara’s Place to encourage people to participate.

“We were really happy with the turnout,” Cordar said. 

Cordar said that the Academic Success Center ultimately aspires to spread awareness about their services through hosting events like this one. The main goal is to bring more people into the Academic Success Center, as well as the Wilson Library and Learning Commons. 

“A lot of people don’t know about us, but we do offer a lot of amazing opportunities for students, especially those struggling in their academics or just in their lives,” Cordar said. “We want more people to know about us and doing events like this gives us that opportunity.”

The first performer to kick off the event was Marisa Elena Torres, who sang her rendition of a mashup of versions of “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé and Nina Simone. 

Torres is a graduate student pursuing a masters of science in child development. Singing has been a huge part of her life since she was a kid, participating in choir from elementary school through high school. 

The passion in her voice, radiating throughout the room, created a sense of melodic calmness. She said that singing is very therapeutic for her and quite the outlet for everyday stressors.

“Creative expression through different mediums really gives people the power and voice to let the world know exactly what they are thinking and who they are,” Torres said. 

Torres is currently a preschool teacher, who said it has been interesting to see her go from taking in the power of her own voice to teaching her students how to use their voice in different mediums through incorporating songs and singing into her lessons has been very rewarding, particularly how they respond to it. 

Mickey Carillo, a senior psychology major, took the stage by presenting her craft in crocheting in conjunction with her comedic origin story of how it found its way into her life. 

Carillo said that having that moment of peace as she crochets or expresses herself otherwise gives her an opportunity to unwind, which she takes joy in deeply, as it relieves the constant anxiety she feels from academics and life in general. 

He strives to include the calming act of crocheting in her future therapeutic services in her own practice, while also having a business where she sells her own creations and teaches workshops.

The Creative Expression and Open Mic Night entailed artists sharing their work, writers enacting their graphic novels, trippy spoken word performances and singers belting out notes. Then came the lure of the freestyling breakdancers of the group. 

Vania Medina, a senior criminology major, wooed the entire room with her rhythm and groove as she busted some serious moves for a captivated audience. Medina has been dancing since she was 3 years old, a great passion of hers. With experience in choreography and performing, Medina is no stranger to sharing her talent with others.  

“This event gave the opportunity to get the energy and stress out, seeing how other people express themselves and meeting a lot of great people expressing their strengths was really interesting,” Medina said. “It was a way for us to share our emotions, encouraging each other, in a supportive environment.” 

While this was the last big event for the semester, the Academic Success Center has a few more tricks up their sleeve this upcoming holiday season to keep an eye out for. 

Kamila K. De La Fuente can be reached at kamila.delafuente@laverne.edu.

Kamila K. De La Fuente is a fifth-year senior creative writing and broadcast journalism major. She is currently the LV Life editor for the Campus Times. She is a dedicated broadcast journalist who is passionate about storytelling and community engagement. Devoted to a lifestyle of knowledge, service and vision, she is actively involved in her community as well as a fierce advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. She has previously served as an assistant editor and staff writer in Fall 2022.

Kaylie Ennis is a senior photography major and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. Originally from Washington state, she enjoys cars and nature photography.

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