ArtsFest 2019

I recently volunteered my time (this past Saturday, April 13, 2019) at what the locals call ArtsFest. To my understanding, it is organized by the Parks and Recreation Department in the city I am currently residing and Georgia Southern University hosts it. Everyone and everything came out of the woodwork for the event. Though, there was GSU art department representation, we were few to the many.

Of us included booths for Print, Paper, Book arts, jewelry and ceramics, Paint to Protect (ceramic tile critters), Sunprints, and 3D Sculptures. Nights before the event, the mother of the Paint to Protect booth, Lyndsey Frantz, asked for assistance. Some fellow grad students, including myself, rallied to punch out 600 animal shapes from clay with metal cookie cutters. Though it wasn’t easy work, we took on the challenge as a team and muscled through it. I am not writing about this to boast about how much good I did–I am writing it, especially in art, to show the importance of collaborating, getting along, working as a team. If Lyndsey was left to cut out everything by herself, she would have been at it for the rest of the night and probably into the morning. But she didn’t have to because she had friends who cared about her and what she believed in. Of course, this applies to other situations like the home and workplace. As they say “Teamwork makes the dream work”…

Rant over? Now, I have never attended this particular festival of arts so I had no idea of what to expect. It got pretty nuts, which is understandable because it’s a small town and people in small towns typically get really into whatever else is happening that’s not at home… meaning when there’s a thing going on, there’s typically a big audience. I took the reigns alongside my current photo professor, Bridget Conn. We had a booth for guests to try out sunprinting or cyanotypes. It was a particularly cloudy day and were had worries that the prints were going to take like 15 minutes to make plus another 15 minutes to rinse and dry. Our first test was a little scary. We cooked it in the clouds for about 20 minutes and didn’t look how we expected it to. I never worked with the materials we had so I kinda didn’t have any negative expectations–because it was pre-coated I thought it would work fine… and it did, actually. After processing and rinsing and drying, the prints turned out pretty damn good and pretty damn blue.

I worked straight through the whole festival, I didn’t mind–I was doing a really awesome thing with really awesome people. It’s a shame we don’t do more things like that… not only is it great to get people on campus it’s also a great way to get involved with the community and peers. I wonder why people here don’t look at the big picture and see what is really important. If I graduate with my MFA, I know with absolute certainty that I will not be alone in making art. Collaborating with other artists and professionals seems so much more beneficial than working alone.

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