The Queens College Arts Festival 2016 took place from Saturday, Oct. 22 through Monday Oct. 24. The festival was created to present the many forms of untapped talent and art at QC.
The festival had special works for each day, along with permanent works that ran throughout the event. One interactive permanent work was titled “The Ceramic Shard Collective,” in which visitors could take broken shards of ceramic material and add them onto two wall mosaics, “piecing together history, art, and archeology.”
Nancy Bruno, an MFA student, and Rosanne Ebner, a QC alum who just began teaching on campus, were behind the idea.
“We decided to make this an interactive project of ceramics that were going to be thrown away, and repurpose them to make mosaics,” Ebner said. “In archeology, shards tell a story about culture, and this piece is a reflection of that. We’re asking everyone to participate and use the shards to create an original, unique picture.”
Another ceramic piece was titled “Hunger Bowls,” by Tanapong Seangboonwattana and the World Food Programme Fundraiser. Described as a “social justice initiative,” the exhibit displayed ceramic pieces, which were for sale. All the proceeds were donated to the World Food Programme charity to support families in need of food.
Nate Viteri, a fifth year psychology and studio art ceramics major, was part of the exhibit.
“I appreciate that the school acknowledges the art department and continues to support and fund it; usually it’s the opposite that happens,” Viteri said. “The festival raises awareness of alternate forms of education. I feel lucky to be part of the event. I feel the ceramic community collects people who tend to be shy, it’s great for us to have this exposure.”
The festival was run entirely by students. The festival website declared “from production, to curtain, to budget and operations, both Kupferberg Center for the Arts and Queens College trust their students to produce an event of this magnitude.”
Dolores Diaz, a student in the MA Master and Activism program at QC was a co-producer of the festival. She produced an interactive art installation, which combined the game “Operation” with “various truths about what our food is made of,” intended to teach people about the true contents of what they eat.
Audrey Edelstein, a master’s candidate in Orchestral Conducting at QC’s Aaron Copland School of Music, was another producer of the festival. She directed a stage performance, of “The Soldier’s Tale,” which featured an orchestra and cast composed primarily of QC alumni, and was choreographed by QC student Elise Walters.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge the work of others, as this show couldn’t have happened without them,” Edelstein said. “I’m very proud of the work we’ve done for the festival and I hope that Jessi, Dolores, and I have laid the groundwork for many more successful showings of untapped and unestablished talent in Queens. I hope that my project is the first of many with Walters.”
Jessi Sachs, a senior Fashion and Textiles student at QC, was another producer of the festival. Jessi curated the “Art Meets Fashion” exhibit, which highlighted the “correlations between the changes in fashion and popular art movements of a time.”
“The project was brought by the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, Dean William McClure, Julia del Palacio, and Jeff Rosenstock. They provided us with a lot of help, and it was great to see that they were trying to showcase undiscovered art on campus. I wanted to be part of the festival because we go to a commuter school, and doing this brought our community together,” Sachs said.
The festival also had special pieces each day, some of which included “Huli,” a dance piece inspired by the Polynesian Islands, “Film Avenir,” a silent experimental 1920’s film and “Holy Smokes,” a rock ‘n’ roll band.
To learn more, visit the festival’s website at https://www.qcartsfestival.com.