By Alexa Piwowarski
On a gloomy day plagued by rain, wind, and dark clouds, the Purchase Arts Management club created a welcoming and safe space with their event, the H.O.P.E. Rally. Inspired by the recent election results, the event was designed to bring hope and peace to the campus community by using art and music to combat fear.
Students filed in and out of the South Side performance area on Nov. 30 from 12 to 4 p.m. to listen and watch as their peers expressed their feelings about what’s happening in the world today through different art forms.
“It was as if there was a blanket of hate that covered the U.S.,” said event coordinator, Leah Woods. “Following the election there was so much sadness everywhere on campus, at home, and all over the nation. I think the best way we can have hope for the future is to express ourselves through art, or at least it’s a steppingstone in the right direction. So that’s why I came up with the idea and it evolved over time.”
H.O.P.E., an acronym coined by Woods, stands for “Halt Oppression, Protect Expression.”
Woods, a 21-year-old studio composition major at Purchase, gathered 18 acts to perform at her rally, including everything from musicians to magicians. “We looked for those who express the challenges being faced in the world through their art form,” she said. “I chose acts that I knew would lift spirits, and show that there is hope if we unify.”
Senior student Alejandro Torres was approached by Woods and asked to perform a magic trick from his recent show, “Extraordinary.”
“In that show, I swallowed a needle and was able to tie it onto sewing thread, all in my stomach,” Torres explained. “For this performance, I upped the danger and swallowed 40-50 needles and threaded all of those individually. I presented it as a trust exercise, putting my faith in my volunteer because without trust, there can’t be hope.”
Another senior student, Bella Sarrapochiello, joined the rally due to her strong feelings about today’s society. “I believe our generation is the most powerful at this point in time,” she said. “We are young, educated, motivated, and brave. We can take action in our own unique ways in order to bring awareness to the change we need to make.” Sarrapochiello performed a Zumba routine and taught the audience the steps during the rally.
“The event went even better than expected,” Woods said. “All I wanted was to inspire people to help get rid of the hate in this world, let people be who they were born to be, and let art be one of the many voices to those who are looking to make the world a better place.”