Did You Miss Out on West Winds’ First Open Mic Night of the Year?


Agatha Hunnicutt

On December 16th, West Winds, a club here at West, had its first Open Mic Night of the year. West Winds meets every other Monday in room 302 to work on creative projects, including visual arts, poetry, and music. Their Open Mic Night was a chance for West students (including, but not limited to, those in West Winds) to show off their creative works. It was a joy to watch; there were lots of diverse and entertaining performances, which included both poetry and a couple of songs. The performers, along with the audience, were very supportive and encouraging of one another.


The Open Mic Night was held at a local modern art museum, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA). Before the show, performers and audience members could explore the museum and mingle in the reception hall. When the show started, we gathered in a cute little theater room to watch the performances. At least 25 students performed, and a few did so more than once. The artists touched on many topics through their poetry; some pieces were comical, while others were heartfelt and personal.


I wanted to hear from the performers and from West Winds’ adviser, Ms. Moroz, about the Open Mic Night. Ms. Moroz started running West Winds this year, after Mr. Packer stepped down from the position. He wanted someone with “a fresh vision and youthful energy to focus entirely on the magazine,” and Ms. Moroz was perfect for the job! Ms. Moroz not only runs West Winds, but also teaches creative writing and language arts classes at West. She told me more about the event and the process of planning it: “Open Mic Night was such a blast! The process of putting together this event was one full of amazing collaboration on the part of my West Winds team. Our Editors helped in reaching out to artists wanting to perform their work, our Design team made beautiful marketing materials for the halls and social media, and our Managers secured our outstanding venue at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and handled complicated logistics.” Ms. Moroz was very happy with how everything turned out, “By having so many moving gears in the process, we were able to ensure that this evening was the exciting, supportive, encouraging celebration of student art that we knew it could be! On the night of the event, we gathered as a community of artists, teachers, parents, and friends to cheer on these artists as they bravely took the stage to share their pieces!  Sharing art is one of the most purely vulnerable experiences we can have as creators, and I was so proud of them all!”


One of the performers I talked to was Kellen Hunnicutt, who performed a slam poem at the Open Mic Night. He shared his thoughts on the event: “It was really fun! I enjoyed this experience a lot because it not only gave me a place to share my art where everyone was very supportive, kind, and celebratory, but it also allowed me to see other people’s art which was so interesting and fun! No one was judgemental or unkind – it was a very positive place.” I also interviewed Emma Gwynn, who told me about her experience sharing her poem “The Girl with the Crimson Hair,” “My experience was amazing. It was truly incredible to see so many people gather and share written word with each other […] I am definitely going to perform again, especially since I was so inspired by others there.”


I talked to another performer, Lucy Dayton, who is a seventh grader in Ms. Moroz’s creative writing class and a member of West Winds. She performed an adorable poem about her brother. She told me what her experience was like: “I was super nervous, especially since I was going first. Once I finished reciting my poem I was really happy and I got to enjoy the rest of the performances without stressing over mine […] It was fun but also stressful, and I may just want to be part of the audience next time West Winds hosts an Open Mic Night. I did enjoy the experience.” I also interviewed an audience member from the Open Mic Night, Isabella Rodriguez, who is also part of West Winds. She told me her thoughts on the show: “I think that the Open Mic Night was a great opportunity for students to express themselves and have an audience of people who cared about them.”


On the topic of the Open Mic Night, I wanted to learn more about West Winds. Ms. Moroz gave me her description of the club: “West Winds is a celebration of student art and the artistic community here at West. We have so many incredibly talented folks here, and West Winds is the homebase for them! We meet every other Monday in room 302 to review student art submissions, design hall posters and social media postings that highlight student art, prep for fundraisers and events, and collaborate on our own writing and artistic expression. Come join us if this sounds like the community for you!” To join the club, go to room 302; whether you can make it to the meetings or not, you can stay updated in the club group chat. Ms. Moroz added, “We want to post and celebrate your art in the halls, our monthly newsletter, social media, and annually published magazine. We aim to be an inclusive, accessible, and a safe space! Artists deserve to be celebrated in a space that makes them feel confident, brave, and freely expressive! We will be accepting submissions up until spring break, so great creating!”


Kellen Hunnicutt also added some extra information about West Winds: “Follow West Winds on instagram (@westwinds.official) and consider submitting your work for our newsletters, posters, and instagram page at [email protected]. This is NOT a place only for written or drawn pieces of art, so feel free to send in videos of dances, spoken poems, songs, 3D pieces of art, etc.!”


If you missed out on the December Open Mic Night, West Winds is planning on hosting another Open Mic Night later this year. Ms. Moroz has big plans for the West Winds magazine: “At the end of every year (for the past 100 years!), West Winds publishes and prints a magazine full of student art. That is everything from poetry to short stories to paintings to digital art to music and dance! We want it all!  This year’s magazine will be free of charge to all students! That night we will be hosting a publishing party and Open Mic Night to celebrate all of this hard work.”

Lillien Jones
William Sproul
Emma Gwynn
Lilly Conroy
Lucy Dayton