The usually silent Rettner Hall was interrupted with the sounds of musical performances and a chattering crowd last Saturday as Art Awake brought together families, students, and lovers of art to gather and admire local works.
This was the first year that Art Awake, founded in 2007, took place on campus and waived its entry fee.
“It’s been about bringing the community together,” senior and Marketing Director Darius Colson said.
Before this year, Art Awake would scope out Rochester and find abandoned buildings to use as a platform for its event. Due to complications with leases and festival permits, the directors chose to keep it on campus.
“I think the vision [for this year’s event] is resilience,” UR alum and Creative Director Gabryella Pulsinelli. “We got our space taken away from us, we normally do it off campus and we had the space taken away from us a little bit. I was like, ‘we don’t have a space we can’t do the event,’ and they were like ‘No, no we can figure it out!’”
Originally, directors were hoping that Art Awake could become something similar to UR Senior Nights, inviting students of legal drinking age to enjoy festivities along with a bar. While this plan was not realized, Art Awake still provided its double service to campus by giving artists a space to display their work, and allowing everyone else the chance to view it.
“I love Art Awake,” senior Euakarn Liengtiraphan said. “All the pieces there are really diverse and most of the piece displayed are from local, up-and-coming artists in Rochester. It’s really nice to get to talk to other artists about their work. It’s also a great experience for any people who want to delve more into the art world. The people who come to Art Awake is very non-judgemental and it’s a great way to get feedback about your work from them.”
Liengtiraphan has participated twice now in Art Awake. This year, she brought in two pieces: her surrealist oil on canvas, “Llamas and Bouquets,” and her comic panel, “Amazing Grace,” which works as a commentary on female empowerment in computer science.
Liengtiraphan said that “Llamas and Bouquets” is meant to challenge the viewer’s serious outlook on life and accept everyday absurdities.
“There’s a lot of talent here that goes on unnoticed,” senior and Art Director Daniel Hargrove said. “We’re not necessarily a liberal arts school, so it’s pretty easy to get distracted sometimes with just focusing on the more technical sides. It’s nice to find out that there is a big thriving artistic community there and I think that this is just the embodiment of it.”
Beside the visual installments, Art Awake featured 18 different performances, included those by Vocal Point, BPG, Yellow Jackets, and OBOC.
“I’ve always been passionate about art, always been passionate about music,” Pulsinelli said. “Being able to mend the two and create a day where the community and students of UR can meld together—[that] is why I’m passionate about it.”