EMPAC Launches the EMPAC Plus Student Program

By Inside Rensselaer

September 14, 2016

This fall, the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center is launching the EMPAC+ (EMPAC Plus) student program. Part of the campuswide Art_X initiative to integrate the methods and mindset of art-making across the Institute curriculum, the program offers free admission to all EMPAC-curated events as well as a multi-tiered rewards system encouraging students to more deeply explore the experimental arts at Rensselaer. EMPAC+ members will also be invited to studio visits with artists-in-residence, conversations with EMPAC curators and production staff, and a season-finale dinner with the EMPAC director.

The program is open to Rensselaer students of all class years and schools, and the benefits last for the duration of their time on campus. To enroll, students may stop by the EMPAC box office at any time. Upon enrollment, the student’s Rensselaer ID becomes a virtual passport. Every time they attend an EMPAC event, they must swipe in at the EMPAC+ kiosk to receive a virtual stamp and log their attendance. For ticketed events, members must still obtain a physical ticket (the night of the performance) but for unticketed (free) events, they may simply swipe in at the kiosk by the venue door.

“We have a very high ratio of student attendance as part of our audience,” says EMPAC Director Johannes Goebel. “We want to support a continuous interest and engagement of students with EMPAC throughout their years at Rensselaer and to bring their friends along who would like to just check it out.” By lowering the bar to admission, Goebel hopes to further create an atmosphere of curiosity and risk-taking around EMPAC’s often-challenging, cross-genre performances.

As EMPAC+ members collect more stamps on their virtual passport, by attending more events, they will work toward four tiers of accomplishment and receive corresponding rewards. With five stamps, members become an EMPAC Time-Based Arts Traveler, and qualify to curate a movie night on the EMPAC mega screen with fellow travelers. Ten stamps makes one an EMPAC Time-Based Arts Explorer and earns a night of video gaming with their fellow explorers on the mega screen. With 15 stamps, the Traveler becomes an EMPAC Time-Based Arts Ambassador complete with a certificate of achievement that can be logged on their CV. With 30 stamps, the member earns two EMPAC tickets for life as an EMPAC Lifetime Member.

Along the way, EMPAC Unpacked, a new student club that meets weekly in EMPAC’s Evelyn’s Café, will host discussions open to EMPAC+ members and facilitate conversations with artists in residence, curators, and production staff.

“Classes whose syllabus intersects with our program come often to our events and participate in interactions with artists at EMPAC. We are happy to offer this new way for all students to engage with EMPAC’s program, our team, the artists, and their works. I am looking forward to our first joint dinner just before the final event of this semester,” says Goebel.