Spring semester activities around Tuscaloosa

Photo+courtesy+of+Julie+Mann
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Spring semester activities around Tuscaloosa

Photo courtesy of Julie Mann

Photo courtesy of Julie Mann

Photo courtesy of Julie Mann

Photo courtesy of Julie Mann

Grace Schepis | @GraceSchepisCW, Staff Writer

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As the spring semester rolls in and Saturdays are no longer spent tailgating for the Crimson Tide, students can look to expand their weekend plans by getting involved with different events around Tuscaloosa. Here are some things to look forward to in the upcoming months.

BRAIN MATTERS RADIO SHOW by Dr. BJ Guenther

Back for her eighth season, one UA therapist is ready for this semester’s premiere of her mental health-focused radio show, “Brain Matters.”  BJ Guenther first heard of a similar self-help show airing at Niagara University in New York, and she wanted to bring the concept to The University of Alabama.

“It wasn’t being done, and it needed to be done,” Guenther said. 

After a year of brainstorming, Guenther pitched the idea to her colleagues, who welcomed it with open arms. Ever since, Guenther has addressed topics of depression, stress, suicide and other mental health issues in a more casual conversation than one that is typically seen on TV or in the movies.  

“I thought I would run out of ideas, but I never really do,” Guenther said.

And when it comes to guests, Guenther is just a phone call away from any specialist or expert in the field she is discussing. Since the show’s inception, Guenther has heard from professionals from all around the world, as well as people across the UA campus.

To listen to the show, tune in to 90.7 The Capstone every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH EXHIBIT by THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL OF TUSCALOOSA COUNTY

In observance of Black History Month, the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa County will be presenting an art exhibit at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center downtown. Sharron Rudowski, the educational director of the Council, is tasked with identifying artists, collecting art for exhibits and determining the layout of the exhibit and its installation.

“I enjoy seeing the artwork as it comes in and meeting and talking with the artists,” Rudowski said. “My favorite thing is when the exhibits come together in a cohesive manner, particularly when pieces displayed are from many artists with a mix of style, medium and subject.”

The success of the first installment of this event last year led the Council to host it again this February.

“Artists from Tuscaloosa, Fayette, Shelby and Jefferson counties participated,” Rudowski said. “We were very pleased with the amount of interest from artists and the public. Attendance for the opening reception was great and higher than average throughout the month. I expect this exhibit will continue to draw strong support from artists and visitors, ensuring its place as an annual event.”

Entries to the exhibit should be emailed to competitions@tuscarts.org between Jan. 13 and 17. Entry is free of charge, and there is no specific theme or topic that is required to meet. 

For those looking to attend the exhibit, it will be on display from Feb. 7 to 28, with an opening reception at the First Fridays series held on Feb. 7. 

SPRING BREAK by THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

Just as the temperature starts to rise and the mid-semester slump sets in, students can look forward to a week of freedom lasting from March 13 to 20. Tuscaloosa is nestled between a handful of students’ favorite destinations, such as Gulf Shores, Miami Beach and South Padre Island. But just because you want to get away for the week doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. 

Caroline Fulmer, a consumer science professor at The University of Alabama, believes that a long-term, realistic approach to saving up is the way to go. 

“My best advice regarding spring break is to look at where spending can be cut beginning right now,” Fulmer said. “We all have two kinds of expenses, fixed and variable. I would recommend that students look at those variable categories such as food, entertainment, gasoline, gifts, clothing, etc. and really cut back to the bare minimum for the next eight weeks.”

If saving money isn’t your thing, then maybe it’s earning a little extra when possible. 

“The other recommendation would be to look for a part-time job to make some additional money,” Fulmer said. “It can be as simple as babysitting a few weekends instead of going out.”

Aidan Healy, a freshman majoring in biology, is taking the alternative, and probably more popular, option for spring break: heading home. 

“I’m going back home [to Chicago] to see my girlfriend, so that’s why it is important to me,” Healy said. 

WEST ALABAMA FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL

Once we reach the final full month of the semester, you’re going to want to treat yourself. On April 9, Tuscaloosa’s premier chefs will come together at the Tuscaloosa River Market for the 8th Annual West Alabama Food and Wine Festival. For just a $50 door charge, attendees can visit the booths of over 20 local restaurants and brewers, as well as take home a souvenir wine glass. 

The entire lineup is yet to be released, but foodies can already look forward to seeing some familiar faces, such as The Avenue Pub, Jim ‘N Nicks BBQ, Chuck’s Fish and Urban Cookhouse. To see the current list of attending venues, visit westalabamafoodandwine.org. 

Tickets are already on sale, and the event is still accepting sponsors and vendors looking to participate. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Alabama Red Cross.