Sac State brings new changes to arts festival

Marissa Montoya

One of Sacramento State’s most popular events, the 2015 Festival of the Arts, is just around the corner and has some new events in store.

The week-long festival, held April 8-12 and sponsored by the College of Arts & Letters, has come a long way since its start in 1992. While its core mission to exhibit the exceptionality and creativity of the students and faculty of Sac State’s College of Arts and Letters has remained the same, the festival has grown to incorporate much more of the vivacious art community that the surrounding Sacramento area has to offer.

“We are committed to supporting and leading the growth and development of the regional arts and cultural community through academic excellence, innovation and engagement,” said An Vo, external relations and communications coordinator for the College of Arts and Letters. “Also, we want to support what students learn in their classes and continue that exploration, appreciation, expression, action and creativity outside the classroom.”

The Festival of the Arts includes an array of events, activities, lectures, exhibits and various performances. Each of the 11 departments in the College of Arts & Letters, which includes art, communication studies, design, film, English, foreign languages, history, humanities and religious studies, music, philosophy, and theater and dance, is represented in some form at the festival.

The average person might not think some departments, such as the communications department, should be included in an art festival, however, all art is a form of communication. The creator of a piece, whether it is a painting or a movie, is trying to communicate a message or idea with their audience.

“Communication Studies is where the Film production courses are located, so there is an element of Fine Arts in this department,” said Jenny Stark, professor of film and communications studies. “For U-Create I will be presenting a documentary about The California Delta, as well as a concept trailer for a narrative also shot there. We will also bring Teeny-Cine (A mobile Video Art Gallery) to U-Create as well.”

In previous years, the festival was not as diverse as its current lineup. In 2010, Sac State began including other organizations and hosting some events off campus, according to previous programs for the festival.

“We have so many events in that five-day period that are truly so diverse that everyone will be able to find something they are interested in,” said Vo.

In 2012, the festival expanded by partnering with a major player in the Sacramento art community, the Crocker Art Museum, to create “U-Nite.” “U-Nite” originally showcased the works of Sac State faculty members.

This year, the festival is forgoing “U-Nite,” replacing it with “U-Create!,” an event in downtown Sacramento from 5-9 p.m. on Thursday, April 9.

“The Crocker could not be involved in the festival this year so we are partnering instead with Beatnik Studios and the Verge Galleries downtown,” said Catherine Turrill, chair of the art department at Sac State.

Vo said “U-Create!” will be a less formal event than “U-Nite” as it will be held outside as a street faire. The event will display the work of 26 student and faculty teams varying from dance and music performances to student readings and exhibits.

SactoMoFo food trucks with also be present at “U-Create!.”

Festival-goers will have two opportunities to see the BANDALOOP performers, a group of vertical dancers who were invited to Sac State by the College of Arts and Letters. The group is known for dancing on vertical structures such as skyscrapers, cliffs and bridges.

The first chance to catch the BANDALOOP show is from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, April 10 at the Library Gallery. The second BANDALOOP performance will be during Family Sunday Funday on campus on Sunday, April 12.

“Another recent shift in the festival involves the creation of Family Sunday Funday, with a day of events and activities for families in the region,” said Turrill. “We will have all kinds of foods and fun on campus. When it was first launched, I was reminded of Picnic Day at UC Davis. In the Art Department, the hands-on ceramics workshop for children, ‘Muddy Hands,’ has been very popular.”

Other events taking place during the festival include the Art History Symposium from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 11 in Mariposa Hall, and the theatrical production of “Avenue Q,” with performances throughout the length of the festival.

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