Uncovering Creativity and Comfort in Katzen
After 10 months on campus I’d started to grow accustomed and maybe a little bored with the same-old same-old…You know what I mean; Wonk t-shirts, the “Flaming Cupcake”, “Tablers” in MGC, loud ladies in the basement of the library and snippets of politically-active conversations from the Mud-Box cafe.
Then one day I absent-mindedly missed my Ward Circle N4 bus stop and had to get off outside the Katzen Arts Center instead. A sign read “Katzen Cafe Now Open!” so I decided to boldly go where I had never before been.
As soon as I walked through the doors of Katzen I realised that this was what my AU life had been missing. Music drifted from hidden corridors and filled the atrium, a mirror-plated cinder block rotated from the ceiling; this was it – creativity!
Instead of being schooled in compromise like us Wonks across Massachusetts Avenue, the Katzen folk are unshackled and expressing themselves. The standard AU student learns how to work the D.C. system and get an internship somewhere important, but these Katzen outlaws have an entirely different outlook; they’re interested in shaping their field and creating something completely original.
Sitting in the cafe, which unfortunately doesn’t break the AU mold like you might hope — it sells wraps, sushi and samosas like everywhere else — I felt like I got a fresh impetus and pride in my university. I remembered that there’s more to life than congressional voting patterns and trying to solve insoluble conflicts; it’s not a bad thing to take time out of saving the world to enjoy and appreciate some less tangible contributions by our students.
Everyone at AU should spend time in Katzen…but then I suppose those creative folk who already inhabit the space might fear that the atmosphere they effortlessly create would be lost.
Harry Allen is a British Fulbright Alistair Cooke Scholar here at American University. In the spirit of Alistair Cooke, he hopes to use this blog to discuss some of the many similarities and differences between the two countries, as he continues his studies here.
Posted in Brit Bit