Nine years after it first pitched its tents, “ARTfest” returns to ASU.
The School of Art at the Herberger Institute of Design and Art is hosting ARTfest, a celebration of student creativity, on Friday, Nov. 4 in Neeb Plaza on the Tempe campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event demonstrates the creative pursuits of ASU students. This would include students majoring in the arts, or any student involved in one of the many arts-related clubs on campus.
The event will be hosted by many of these clubs, including the Art Student (K)oalition, A Buncha Book Artists, Lemon Tree Animation Club, and more.
Last year’s ARTfest, held during the first semester when students returned to campus after the COVID-19 health measures were largely lifted, was a huge success. The event was attended by about 400 participants, including artists, teachers and guests. Caroline Schmidt, student and community engagement specialist and coordinator for the School of the Arts, expects a similar volume at this year’s event.
“We have a really incredible culture of student organizations here at the School of the Arts … I think there are over a dozen of them,” Schmidt said. “They come together and show what they do.”
Schmidt said ARTfest has been an annual event at ASU for at least nine years, with the exception of 2020, when the pandemic prevented it and other major events.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, the in-person visual arts events enjoyed by the creative community were shut down. Artists were forced to stay in isolation, and their valuable works gathered dust on the shelves.
With the return of in-person events, we have the opportunity to see this community not only thrive, but come back better than ever and bring people together in the process.
Pacey Smith-Garcia, a journalism and mass communication student and president of A Buncha Book Artists, praised ARTfest for bringing students together. “Art…gives you a community of people who are interested in doing the same thing as you.”
Smith-Garcia also attested to the mental health benefits of art classes. “College can be incredibly stressful at times, and it’s helpful to have a way to express those emotions.”
Using art to support mental health may not be the main goal of ARTfest, but it is a well-established therapeutic practice in the world of psychology. In a 2020 study, the American Art Therapy Association found that art-based therapy can be a particularly effective way to voice abstract feelings of fatigue and burnout, which are common problems among college students studying in the wake of a global pandemic.
For Zachary Takacs, a junior studying art and majoring in animation, it’s personal. As a self-proclaimed creative person, Takacs said it’s “very important that students do art because it allows students to express their creativity.”
Takacs is assisting Schmidt in her efforts to coordinate and promote the event and will be in attendance Friday to make sure everything runs smoothly.
This year ARTfest will feature many artistic niches. From ceramics to painting, illustrations to photography, all forms of art will be on display. There will also be hands-on activities and bags full of goodies to take home.
Gabriella Jording, a junior art student majoring in art history, summed it up best: “ARTfest is a great look at what the School of Art has to offer and what these students are capable of.”
Edited by Claire van Doren, Watt Myska, and Piper Hansen.
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