Nine years after it first pitched its tents, ARTfest is once again returning to ASU.
The School of Art at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is hosting ARTfest, a celebration of student creativity, on Friday, Nov. 4, at Neeb Plaza on the Tempe campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event showcases the creative pursuits of ASU students. This will include students majoring in artistic fields or any student involved in one of the many art-related clubs on campus.
The event will be hosted by many of these clubs, including Art Student (K)oalition, A Buncha Book Artists, Lemon Tree Animation Club and others.
Last year's ARTfest, which took place during the first semester students returned to campus after COVID-19 health measures were largely lifted, was a huge success. The event saw around 400 attendees including artists, faculty and guests. Caroline Schmidt, a student and community engagement specialist and coordinator at the School of Art, anticipates a similar volume at this year's event.
"We have a really incredible culture of student organizations here at the School of Art. … I think we have over a dozen," Schmidt said. "They come together and kind of show off what they do."
Schmidt said ARTfest had been an annual event at ASU for at least nine years, not including 2020, when the pandemic prevented it and other large events from being held.
When the pandemic struck in 2020, the in-person, visual art events the arts community thrived on were brought to a screeching halt. Artists were forced into isolation, with their precious works collecting dust on 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 junior and president of A Buncha Book Artists, praised ARTfest for bringing students together. "The arts … provide you with a community of people who are interested in doing the same things that you are."
Smith-Garcia also attested to the mental health benefits of artistic pursuits. "College can be incredibly stressful at times, and it's beneficial to have a way to express that emotion."
Using art to support mental health may not be the main goal of ARTfest, but it's a well-established therapeutic practice in the world of psychology. The American Art Therapy Association found in a 2020 study that art-based therapy can be an especially effective way of giving voice to abstract feelings of fatigue and burnout, both common issues among college students studying in the wake of a global pandemic.
For Zachary Takacs, a junior studying art with a concentration in animation, this is a personal matter. As a self-proclaimed creative person, Takacs said "it is highly important that students get involved in the arts because it allows students to express their creativity."
Takacs is helping Schmidt in her efforts to coordinate and advertise the event and will be in attendance on Friday to ensure all runs smoothly.
There will be an array of artistic niches featured at ARTfest this year. From ceramics to paintings, illustrations to photography, arts of all kinds will be showcased. There will also be hands-on activities and tote bags full of goodies to take home.
Gabriella Jording, a junior studying art with a concentration in art history, summarized it best: "ARTfest is a great peek into what the School of Art has to offer and what these students are capable of."
Edited by Claire van Doren, Wyatt Myskow and Piper Hansen.
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