Ephemeral Arts Festival combines organic materials with craftsmanship

The Art Club, Office of Sustainability, Geneseo Campus Activities Board, Kinetic Gallery and Nature Walk Club collaborated to host the Ephemeral Arts Festival on Sunday Oct. 18 at the Spencer J. Roemer Arboretum. GCAB’s Kinetic Gallery Arts and Exhibit coordinator, Art Club treasurer and webmaster of women’s rugby senior Tahlia Brody coordinated the Ephemeral Arts Festival’s development with the help of junior Sarah Kowalski—the president of Nature Walk Club—and Director of Sustainability Dan DeZarn—the former chair of the art department and the originator behind the festival’s objective.

“The idea of ephemeral arts is art that is temporary and fleeting,” DeZarn said. “It’s something that, as opposed to the idea of artwork as being archival and long lasting, the function of this artwork is to exist in the moment and to go away.”

Since the transition from summer to fall was nearly complete, the festival’s timing couldn’t have been more opportune, favoring DeZarn’s idea to use the arboretum as a unique setting for the art festival. Students were seen taking inventory of everything around them, collecting different shades of plant leaves and fallen berries for later use in their engaging yet ephemeral art pieces.

“That was a pretty interesting relationship from our perspective with a natural venue like the arboretum,” DeZarn said. “The idea that you can go into it at any moment and you’re going to see a different thing than if you came earlier in the day … leaves changing, flowers blooming, things like that.”

Despite the cold, snowy weather, the arboretum served as a convenient location for both students and the community. While exploring the festival, students appeared to be familiar with the landscape of the arboretum, as was reflected in their ability to navigate the trails in teams of up to five people with ease.

“The idea behind this event was to bring people together and engage in that kind of level of impermanence,” DeZarn said. “Absolutely anyone can come: the community or campus—if you want to come and participate, you can.”

As the new Kinetic Gallery coordinator, Brody noted that she wants to use her new position to bring more art onto campus. She mentioned how DeZarn’s ideas regarding an Ephemeral Art Festival seemed like a good opportunity to help in the agency of her new role.

“I was talking to [DeZarn] about art and sustainability and he was telling me about ephemeral art and the idea of maybe doing an ephemeral arts festival,” Brody said. “He explained to me that ephemeral art is a combination of both art and nature by using nature to create artwork.”

DeZarn noted that while there aren’t any plans for another ephemeral arts festival, he would enjoy helping in the coordination of another event in the future.

Photos of the ephemeral artwork will be on display in the Kinetic Gallery from Thursday Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m.–Tuesday Oct. 27.