Arts! Festival Brings Color and Creativity to Colgate



Sara Dyer

Last week’s Arts! Festival (from February 19-24) included a wide range of activities and events: the Vagina Monologues, a visit from accomplished Polish artist Agata Olek, the Wesleyan College Fire-dancing Team, a masquerade ball at the Creative Arts House, to name a few. Arts! Fest is organized and run by the Colgate Arts Initiative, a student group which was founded four years ago with the intention of promoting the thriving, yet sometimes seemingly obscure, arts presence and talent at Colgate. Senior Rachel Vining, a board member of the Arts Initiative, planned with a group of roughly twelve others starting from the first day of school in the fall ’06 right up until the week of the festival itself.

“The purpose of the festival is to promote all the arts we have going on at campus right now; it’s hard to squeeze it all into one week,” Vining said. “We try to get involved as many arts groups as possible and not necessarily to create new events but to highlight what’s already going on [sort of] in the hopes of creating more of a connection between the arts community here.” Arts! Fest certainly involves a wide range of art organizations on campus: theatre, improv comedy, music, arts bizarre and more.

What makes Arts! Fest so special is the invitation it extends, not only to Colgate students but to the general community as well, to participate. Workshops ran Monday-Thursday of last week specifically catered to local Hamilton children: Improv Comedy, Calligraphy, Clay and Kid TV. The Arts! Fest committee tactfully scheduled (as they did last year) the week to coincide with Hamilton Central’s February vacation.Colgate students were encouraged to bring their Sidekicks to the events.

Colgate students were also invited to participate on collaborative public art projects with visiting artist Agata Olek. Olek, an artist who now working in the Big Apple, does a lot of work with off-beat materials. Her piece involving crocheted balloons still hangs in Little Hall: a grandiose project hanging from the ceiling to the bottom floor.

Though the weather may have been less than ideal for some to leave the warmth of dorm rooms, Arts! Fest broke up the monotony and dreariness of an upstate winter. Its presence in the winter is strategic both for this reason as well as all the planning the festival entails.

When asked how actual attendance compared to the expectation leading up to the festival, Vining commented, “I think in general attendance was pretty good. We actually had more people than I thought would turn out for the fire dancers on Friday night. I think we must have had 50 or 60 kids so that was really good. And we had a pretty good turnout for the masquerade ball. I guess one event we have to rethink logistically is the arts bazaar because we had trouble getting enough vendors this year.” Location, publicity and visibility may have been possible factors for why the arts bazaar was less popular. Students may also have noticed that absence of the lights on the quad this year; because of the excessive snow, the committee had to forgo the usually vibrant and magical night lights on the quad though Vining hinted possibly at their appearance during Spring Party Weekend.