Grum Project Series Brings Daniel Belnavis to Campus For Workshops, Lecture on Artistry and Creativity

Williston’s popular Grum Project Visiting Artist Series continued to inspire when Daniel Belnavis came to campus in December. Belnavis, an actor, singer, performer, and current graduate student at New York University, spent three days at Williston Northampton working with a wide array of Visual and Performing Arts students, along with hosting a lecture.

“I wanted to come in prepared with something that the students would find engaging,” said Belnavis, who has appeared in shows like Hamilton and In The Heights, “something that speaks to my own history within the business, but also that’s more expansive about creativity and artistry in general.”

Belnavis first visited the musical theater and vocal performers, as he hosted a workshop with students working on the upcoming winter musical, Something Rotten, followed by an open lecture titled “Creative Thinking, The Power of Imagination and Authentic Artistry.”

Belnavis began by talking about what creativity is, but noted that it was the back-and-forth with students that brought the room to life. “I never want to be talking at someone,” he said. “It’s like, ‘you’re a collaborator, this can be mutual,’ and if you ask a question, I might know the answer, I might not—but we can talk about it together.”

Belnavis followed up his Thursday work by hosting a special workshop on creativity and expression with Middle School students on Friday.

The visit from Belnavis was met with enthusiasm at every stop. When asked what he hoped the students took away from his visit, Belnavis circled back again to expression of thought. “I hope they can take away that it’s OK to still be figuring it out. Something I was stressing with the theater students and even during the presentations, is how it’s so important to bring yourself to everything you do, and to be human.”

The Grum Project, funded by a generous benefactor from the Northampton School for Girls, helps bring artists like Belnavis to campus for mini-residencies. Learn more about the Grum Project by clicking here. Head to our Flickr gallery to see more from Belnavis’s trip, and watch a video of the theater workshop here.