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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Garage Party kicks off fall semester with various art, entertainment

Students gathered to commence the fall semester at a parking garage stocked with a range of art and entertainment next to the Rhatigan Student Center on Friday for the third annual NXT LVL Garage Party. Free for all WSU students, the event was organized by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and SEAL.

Gabriel Fonseca, Interim Executive Director for Student Engagement, stated the importance of the event as the typical Back to School Bash was not held.

“With construction and other things happening plus overall feedback, we wanted (the Garage Party) to be our kickoff event for the school year,” Fonseca said. “So, we were able to combine forces with both (the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and SEAL) to host this event.”

Each level of the garage featured different entertainment, including  live musicians, games, food and booths selling work by local artists.

“It’s important that we’re providing students with fun experiences and opportunities, especially the very first weekend here,” he said.

New to the event this year was a dance routine by the majorettes team. 

Denazhia Williams, a junior studying psychology, was responsible for creating the group and choreographed their dance for the Garage Party. 

“Since no one was here over the summer, I created (choreography) at home, and I sent it to them,” she said. “There’s always going to be work needed somewhere but I feel like it went great for our first (performance).”

Rudy Love Jr., a local Wichita musician, also made an appearance. He was contacted to perform at the party by Patrick Heath, a senior graphic design student, who was in charge of coordinating both the live entertainment and the art market. 

“He’s just one of the best live performers that I’ve ever met, especially in Wichita, so it was really cool to be able to get him on board and perform,” Heath said. 

According to Heath, the art market featured 20 local artists, including students and members of the community. Attendees had the opportunity to browse the market, talk to artists and make purchases. 

Koji Liby, another artist selling his work at the market, explained why he chose to participate.

“It’s really nice for me to be able to reach a new demographic that maybe I don’t see at my other events,” he said.

Wyatt Pankratz, an art education student, sold a variety of goods like soap and pottery at the event. 

“I think it helps them (artists) get recognized and people can see their work and appreciate what they do,” Prankratz said. 

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About the Contributors
Ainsley Smyth
Ainsley Smyth, Reporter
Ainsley Smyth is a second-year reporter for The Sunflower. Smyth is a sophomore communications major with an emphasis in journalism and media productions. Her dream job is to travel back in time 30 years and then be a reporter for Rolling Stone. Smyth uses she/her pronouns.
Nithin Reddy Nagapur
Nithin Reddy Nagapur, Former photographer
Nithin Reddy Nagapur was a photographer for The Sunflower. Nagapur graduated in Fall 2023.

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