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Upcoming Cannibal Collective event will offer a taste of different art forms

The collective is shifting from planning live music shows to focus on elevating other art forms

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People attend an informal art festival hosted by Cannibal Collective in Phoenix, Arizona, on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019.

A Phoenix-based art and music collective, called The Cannibal Collective, is putting on a backyard showcase this weekend – and no there should be no cannibalism involved.

The collective aims to "a safe community where all art forms and people are celebrated," according to its Facebook page.

While the group has held events in the past that mainly featured live music, the creative collective is now shifting toward elevating underrepresented art scenes, like poetry and visual arts.

This upcoming Sunday, the group is collaborating with Tempe house venue Big Surf to put on Another Backyard Art Fest, which will feature performances from musicians, such as Phoenix-based band ROAR, and feature local artwork, spoken word poetry and open-mic time.

Read More: Big Surf is making a splash in the Tempe music scene

With the homey sounds of local music and poetry, woven with a safe environment to express one's creativity, the collective aims to make the event inclusive and promote good art and good energy.

The Cannibal Collective’s founder, Hannah Whitaker, is a senior studying printmaking at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Whitaker said, through the collective, she helps provide opportunities to local performers and artists to share their craft with others. 

“We are concerned with creating spaces for people that can’t really create that space themselves,” she said. 

Whitaker said that as of recently, The Cannibal Collective has switched gears, diving more into the local art scene by promoting more poetry-based and visual art practices, especially those that involve women. 

“Our biggest thing is creating a safe space for women and creating a space where women are seen and valued as equals within the art community,” Whitaker said.

Since it was founded in May 2017, Whitaker has directed the collective's efforts in the music scene. She said she felt that she should dive more into promoting local art practices that are more personally connected to her, such as printmaking. 

Jesus Orozco, a senior studying printmaking, creates music on the local scene and said he has enjoyed the experience of being able to perform at a Cannibal Collective event, which he said was his first experience performing in front of an audience. 

“It was still a really good opportunity,” Orozco said. “I got to play in front of strangers and just get that nervousness out of the way.”

Orozco said that, with Whitaker’s help and Cannibal Collective’s platform, he was able to confront his stage-fright because of the supportive audience brought by the local art community. 

Tiernan Maloy, a sophomore majoring in interdisciplinary studies in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, is an artist featured in the collective's upcoming backyard art festival. His printmaking-based artwork will be displayed at the event. 

Maloy said that Cannibal Collective has given him a great opportunity to be a part of an energized environment full of people with similar interests in alternative art fields.

“It’s just a culmination of different experiences, different ways of thinking, different ideas” he said.

Maloy said that he had told himself in the beginning of the year that he needed to be a little more adventurous regarding his art pursuits.

“When this opportunity was given to me, I knew I needed to take it,” he said. “I just want people to see the stuff I’ve been working on.”

Orozco said that the people that perform and attend these backyard art festivals are not all college students or students studying art, but other community members that even have an affinity for it. 

“There’s an artist in everybody I think,” Orozco said. “I feel like that brings people in.”

Another Backyard Art Fest will take place on March 24 at Big Surf, starting at 1 p.m. with a $3 minimum donation fee for performers and local art that will be available for purchase.

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