Art & Boba spill creativity at Cantor

Feb. 29, 2024, 1:25 a.m.

Whether an art aficionado or a first time visitor, the Cantor Arts Center is calling on all Stanford boba-lovers to enter its halls for its new event series, Art & Boba Talks. 

Introduced last academic year, Art & Boba Talks invite a small group of around 20 students to engage in a Q&A conversation with visiting artists of diverse mediums and backgrounds, all while sipping on the variety of boba drinks provided. 

Despite the potentially intimidating grandeur of the Cantor, Art & Boba Talks are held in its warm and welcoming auditorium. Attendees are seated in a circle, creating a casual atmosphere and encouraging dynamic dialogue. During the talks, everyone in attendance introduces themselves and is asked to share any questions and thoughts with the artist and their fellow peers.

Vivian Sming, associate director of academic and public programs at the Cantor, said the event was designed for students “to get their questions answered about what it’s like being an artist.”

Past talks have featured Grace D. Li, author of “Portrait of a Thief” and Stanford Medicine student, visiting photographer Sabelo Mlangeni and visual artist and filmmaker Sofía Gallisá Muriente, whose video “Celaje” is on display now at the Cantor.

The next talk on Friday will feature artist Christine Wong Yap, who specializes in social practice, printmaking and public art. Artist-duo Young-Hae Chang and Marc Voge will also be participating on April 5, representing their company Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, whose practice syncs original texts and music in 26 languages.

According to Alyssa Diaz, Academic Programs Coordinator for the Cantor, Art & Boba Talks are “meant to be an entry point for people at whatever stage they are as an art-interested individual.” 

This broad goal encourages students of all majors and interests to come together to engage thoughtfully with the art world. 

Ariana Lee ’27 has attended multiple talks, in part for this sense of community.

“Arts initiatives on campus get less attention than STEM ones, so it’s also nice to be able to connect with other students passionate about the arts. The boba is a great touch too,” Lee wrote in an email to the Daily. 

The Art & Boba Talk initiative has also worked in tandem with other events and programming at the Cantor, encouraging students to personally connect artists to their art practice and process.

For example, a November talk featured interdisciplinary artist Kenneth Tam, whose video installation “All of M” was showing at the Cantor’s Madeleine H. Russell Gallery at the time. “It was nice getting to hear about his creative process,” said Cooper Salmon MFA ’25.

According to Diaz, Art & Boba Talks will continue throughout the remainder of winter and spring quarters.

“We’re introducing something that forms a consistency, something that we can offer throughout the year,” Diaz said.

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