Grounded Growth Reflections

The theme “Grounded Growth” is meant to represent the growth that the past two years have warranted for everyone. We wanted to take this year and this day to discuss, reflect on, and celebrate how the arts have supported us through these periods of growth and how they can continue for the future. We asked participants, “What does grounded growth mean to you and how is it reflected in your project?” and here are some of their answers.

APIDA Student Arts Exhibit, curated by Isabel Lu

Poster for APIDA Student art exhibit. Features a woman holding a pomelo. Text reads Asian American Center. 215 W Cameron Ave. April 8-20. Come see paintings, drawings, photography, dance and written words by 15 UNC students


The UNC Asian American Center (AAC) and Arts Everywhere is proud to present an arts exhibition exploring the experiences of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students during these past two years related to the theme of “Grounded Growth.” Join us at AAC ( 215 W. Cameron Ave.) from 10am-3pm on April 8th to celebrate the creative works of 15 undergraduate and graduate students. Works include paintings, photography, film and dance, and written pieces that unpack how students’ identities and experiences have been shaped by the events and world around us. The exhibit will be on display at AAC through the month of April.


Alex Ng, Cynthia Liu, Gargi Dixit, Gary Zhang, Flying Silk, Hayden Park, Isabel Lu, Julie Kim, Luke Yuen Johnson, Phong Dinh, Rachel Donnan, Saayli Kokitkar, Yang Yang and Yunzhi Qian


“Grounded growth, to me, means personal development that was able to transpire in out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. COVID-19 changed reality for all of us. It forced us to re-evaluate our goals, motivations, values, and thus, enabled us to grow and adapt rapidly. This theme is reflected in my piece in the changing visuals, as I am depicted to find the strength to get better through the help of my family’s belief and support. It’s in adverse times like these that I realize how lucky I am to have such a tight knit family, a group of people who have already been through so much as first-gen immigrants and continue to show up for each other every single day.

~Hayden Park, ’23

Read the reflections from the other participating artists here.

When and how to view

April 8 from 10 am – 3 pm and through the month of April at the Asian American Center

Emily Harmon presents the premiere of “Jack and the Desert Serenade”

Headshot of Emily Harmon. Text reads: Arts Everywhere Day participants. Emily Harmon


Emily Harmon, a 4th year PhD candidate in biology at UNC, is one of the recipients of Arts Everywhere’s 2020-2021 Student Arts Innovation Grant. Her project, Jack and the Desert Serenade, premiers on Arts Everywhere Day. Jack and The Desert Serenade captures the diversity of desert wildlife and brings together music and story, transforming her desert research into an animated, musical piece. 


“I’m very excited for us to premiere the video of Jack and the Desert Serenade on Arts Everywhere Day this year. The theme “Grounded Growth” is particularly fitting for my experience the last couple years – the pandemic prevented our lab from really getting out and doing work in the field. I ended up completely redesigning my PhD project starting from the ground up, asking a basic question about biology, and designing a new project and even new study system best fit to evaluate that question. Though this has mainly taken me away from the spadefoots, part of me will always be a toad rancher at heart, and I can’t wait to share these amazing critters with the public. Ultimately, I hope the audience has fun learning about musical instruments and some of these incredible desert animals.”

When and where to watch

April 8 at 11 am. Register to watch on Zoom.

StudentMade UNC

StudentMade logo


Stop by to learn more and support the student artists at StudentMade UNC! StudentMade UNC connects creatives on campus to collaborate with other artists and sell their art to students, alumni, and more. 


Shreya Gundam, Cameron Holmes, Aiyana T. Woldu, Ramisha Amhed, Tiffany Melenzio, Natalie Bradin, Ella Sullivan, Madeline Behnke, Lily Young-Fritchie, and Emily Netherland.


“Art has helped me relax and occasionally detach from the overstimulation and trial things of the current state of our society. It allows me to think about what I want to do without the influence of others.”

~Aiyana T. Woldu, ‘23

“I learned to crochet during freshman year at my former school while at a particularly hard time with my mental health. I found that crocheting eased my anxiety and took my mind off of my school situation, and even when COVID hit, it took my mind off the chaos surrounding that as well. Crocheting calms me like no other hobby.”

~Emily Netherland, ‘23

StudentMade artists answered questions about the message they hope to convey through their art, how the art has helped them during the last two years and explained when and why they started their business. Read through their reflections here: Meet the StudentMade Artists

When and where to visit StudentMade

April 8 from 10 am – 6 pm in the Pit!

UNC Flying Silk 

Tell us about your artistic journey

UNC Flying Silk was started in 2012 by a group of friends who were passionate about traditional Chinese dancing throughout high school. They founded Flying Silk in college as a goal to promote their culture with the UNC community, as Flying Silk is the first and only official Chinese dance team on UNC’s campus. Initially, Flying Silk only used silk ribbons as the main prop. Now we have ventured into using more props like silk fans and umbrellas. Originally consisting of only 6 members, our team has grown to typically include around 14 members per year and we now combine more traditional and modern dance styles and music.


This piece tells the story of spring as a parallel to the rejuvenation we’ve gone through. The first piece, “Past and Present,” reminisces on pre-pandemic times, represented by the lightness of our fans. In our second piece, “In the End,” we’re thrown into the emotional uncertainty that was brought upon us, symbolized by contemporary dance. Just as spring brings light, our final piece, “Dance of the Sun” shows our journey stepping back into our new normal with the brilliance of colored ribbons.

What was your inspiration?

As we developed this piece, there was a Chinese phrase that came to mind. 守得云开见月明 “Every cloud has a silver lining”, meaning that every difficult or sad situation has a comforting or more hopeful aspect, even if it may not be immediately apparent. We’ve been experiencing dark and gloomy nights during the pandemic, But it’s important to remind ourselves that there will always be another sunrise and a new day and we hope to showcase this in our performance piece.


As a parallel to how spring begins after winter, our team has also gone through immense development and grounded growth through the pandemic. We still danced and created choreography each year for our pieces, despite not being able to be together to practice and perform live in person. Our piece reflects this journey our team has gone through to show resilience. 

When and where to watch

Watch their performance on our social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) on April 8, 2022!

Kelli Smith Biwer and UNC Electronic Music Club Performance

Headshot of Kelli Smith-Biwer. Text reads: Arts Everywhere Day participant. Kelli Smith-Biwer


Led by Arts Everywhere Music Technology Graduate Fellow, Kelli Smith-Biwer, the newly-formed UNC Electronic Music Club is excited to offer a live set, “Grounded Growth,” to showcase the collaboration made possible with electronic music production methods. Beatmaking, songwriting, and creative expression are what brought their small group of students together when the quarantine ended and students could return to campus. You can expect to hear samples of our sonic creations from quarantine as well as live-mixed, collaborative pieces that utilize our talents, audio equipment, and methodologies. 


As the performance has come together, it’s very much become a reflection on the work the members of the club did while we were apart during the pandemic and the magical experience of sharing that work with one another once we could come back together. Don Moonie, for example, will be performing some songs that he wrote in the isolation of COVID and performed for us for the first time at the Beat and Brews event that we held earlier this week. Similarly, Katrina and I will be playing a laptop performance piece that I built as a part of a meditative practice that I learned during the pandemic. The isolation we endured in 2020 and 2021 underpins all of these pieces, but they are ultimately, and more importantly, a celebration of togetherness, community, and collaboration.

How to watch

  • April 8 from 3:00 – 3:30 pm in the Hill Hall rotunda