The McMullen Museum of Art transformed into a cozy stage setup with a jazz-themed background for Art After Dark, an international open-mic night held as part of Boston College’s International Education Weeks, which are celebrated throughout the month of November.
The event established a space for students of various backgrounds to connect in a wholesome, colloquial atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., students arrived at the McMullen to listen to fellow international students sing songs from their countries and learn about different cultures around the world.
The thoughtfully planned out event featured an array of foods from different cultures for visitors to try out, including four mocktail recipes provided by the Irish Society, German Club, Philippine Society of BC, and Hellenic Society of BC. Small-bite food options from cuisines of various countries ranging from Italy to Ghana were available for attendees.
While the first floor of the museum hosted the main performance, the second floor presented various board games from different cultures including Cuban dominoes and an ancient Nepalese table-top game called Bagh Chal. Instructions for each game were provided for those unfamiliar with the rules. Tables and stools were spread out throughout the space, which houses the current Gateway to Himalayan Art exhibit.
While the cold may have discouraged attendance, those who did show up seemed to be engaged with the activities.
“Part of International Education Weeks … is about one trying to get at least the United States to acknowledge its not just role, but also its connection within a global community,” said Rachel Chamberlain, manager of education outreach, and digital resources at the McMullen. “Especially here at universities where we do so much work working with communities around the world, it’s an opportunity to celebrate [them] and shine a light on it.”
Throughout the night, students listened to six performers take the stage. Particular highlights included traditional Korean folk music and a parting song rooted in Scottish tradition.
“It’s really nice,” Katie Maye, an exchange student from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, said. “I have a lot of friends here … [and] there are people from around the world singing and the food was so lovely as well. … I had a mocktail Irish coffee so [it] felt just like home.”
Maye performed “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Scottish song, at the event.
Jiwon Kim, MCAS ’27, performed three traditional Korean folk songs and multiple jazz songs.
“I just thought this event was a nice opportunity for people to share their culture and experiences,” Kim said.
Adrienne Nussbaum, associate dean and director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, spoke about the importance of Art After Dark after the event.
“This is a cultural event that gives the opportunity for all the international students to share their talents and also share their cultures and their countries with the larger BC community,” Nussbaum said. “[This event is] actually for domestic faculty, students, and staff as well to learn about all the international students and all the different global things happening.”