Art festival spreads creativity across campus

(Ellayna Fredericks/Staff Photographer)

The Geneseo campus showcased several student art pieces as part of the Campus Canvas: As We Are festival. Various exhibitions, readings and performances will last until March 31 as a way for students to have a platform to display their artwork and to express their opinions about the campus climate as a whole. 

Campus Canvas’ central project is the Sound Hub, located in the MacVittie College Union, where individuals can record their responses to prompts. Such prompts include whether an individual is happy and what they love or hate about Geneseo. The prompts are given to inspire the individual to provide some type of narration. These sound recordings are then played along with videos shot by students of landmarks around Geneseo, creating an exciting contrast between the images and the students’ monologues. 

“The idea behind that is to really present Geneseo without necessarily editing people’s thoughts. We’re not trying to clean up Geneseo’s image at all,” English creative writing major and collaborator on the Sound Hub project senior Evan Goldstein said. “We’re trying to have people engage with what other people are really thinking more deeply.”

Also featured in the Union is Geneseo Environmental Organization’s trash sculpture, which shows the average annual trash output in the United States versus the average annual trash output of a person who recycles and composts. The sculpture includes a list of items that can be composted. The goal of such a visible and tangible display is to generate critical introspections in how one treats the environment. 

The Integrated Science Center is housing another interactive art project, as designed by English creative writing and geology double major junior Elizabeth Pellegrino, geology major senior Mark Ling and geology major junior Allison Bargabos. These students created a display of various rocks in which individuals can write down a thought on the rock, which will then be placed in their depositional environment. 

“It kind of plays off this idea of geologic time and the fact that it takes quite a while to erode and to get rid of thoughts, and that it’s a very gradual process,” Pellegrino said. 

In addition, English major senior Kiaya Rose Dilsner-Lopez’s Edgar Fellows capstone project entitled “Mezclar” has been relocated from the Kinetic Gallery to the English Department office for the Campus Canvas: As We Are festival. 

Students also had the opportunity to attend a photography workshop on Monday March 27 with activist in the Lesbian Avengers Group and photographer and videographer Carolina Kroon. During the workshop, Kroon offered feedback on strategies to convey context of an event through photography and the importance of editing and experimenting with lighting and distance. Lyric essayist and lecturer of creative writing at Columbia College T Clutch Fleischmann provided a literary reading of a current manuscript that they are finalizing as well as a recently published article of theirs on Wednesday March 29 as part of the college’s Campus Canvas events. In Fleischmann’s work, they explore the phenomenon of being gender fluid as well as questions that arise about sex and the body. Felischmann’s pieces beautifully experiment with language and form and invited listeners to feel close to the present moment. 

To bring the Campus Canvas events to a close, students will present the play “It Can’t Happen Here” on Friday March 31 on the college green. The production is led by English adolescent education major junior William Antonelli and professor of theater Melanie Blood and grapples with the rise of a fascist dictator. 

Event advisor and assistant professor of English Lytton Smith hopes that these events provide students with an opportunity to engage with the artistic community on campus.

“I think it’s really important that art becomes a way of engaging with each other on campus, in particular at a time when there’s the threat of cutting arts funding,” Smith said. “Citizenship without art is a very dull citizenship and a very limited way of thinking and rethinking the world.”