Sunday, May 19, 2024

Festival crafts creative communal connections


By Cinara Marquis

The arts are taking the center stage May 4 at SUNY Plattsburgh in the Cardinal Creative Arts Festival, an entirely student-run event highlighting the talent and skill of student visionaries.

In spring 2023 two students, Mirren Guzzio and Luke Gerhardt came up with the idea for an arts festival after their Cardinal Foundation Seminar.

The course “Building Thriving Communities,” was aimed at exploring the principles and practices which are essential in fostering inclusive and engaged neighborhoods.

“One of the things that we talked about in that class was: if you’re in your community and there’s something lacking from your community that you really want, instead of trying to find that somewhere else, how can you build it in a place that you’re in?” Guzzio said.

Both Guzzio and Gerhardt are involved in the arts; the two musicians felt that there were not enough non-academic opportunities at SUNY Plattsburgh for students to showcase their creativity.

“Our main objective when we came up with the idea was to give students the opportunity to showcase different kinds of artwork that they’ve created outside of a classroom setting,” Guzzio said. “People can’t really see where your heart is and what your interests are, when it’s something that someone else told you to make.”

Guzzio and Gerhardt began putting together a team in fall 2023.

Alexander Finkey was one of those team members who became involved early on, as Coordinator of Arts and PR Chair for the Student Association, but also as a friend for Guzzio and Gerhardt.

“I had never seen an event centered around the arts on this large of a scale on campus, and it has only grown since the beginning of planning it out,” Finkey wrote in an email. 

Each major group within the art department will be included in the CCAF in it’s own six-hour time slot across campus. From noon to 6 p.m., attendees can expect a variety of events.

The Plattsburgh Association of the Visual Arts will have a curated CCAF Art Show in the Alumni Conference Room in the Angell College Community Center, as well as a BFA Gallery tour and paint and sip.

In the Warren Ballrooms there will be a live music festival featuring different student performers of various genres.

The College Theatre Association and Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society will be hosting theater showcases and workshops in the Hartman and Black Box theatre in the Myers Fine Arts Building.

North Star Magazine will be reading through their latest issue in the Cardinal Lounge in the ACC.

SUNY Plattsburgh students will be selling their creative works in downtown Plattsburgh at Koffee Kat from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Guzzio’s team curated the event like this on purpose, “It’s designed so that students can pop from room to room and discover different kinds of artwork that’s like happening in their school communities.” Guzzio said.

Map pamphlets will be provided to attendees.

Guzzio’s team is also making stamps for attendees to collect from different events, “There will be a special stamp if you attend all events and collect all the stamps,” Finkey wrote. “We wanted a fun incentive to give to people to try new things, even if they are a little uncomfortable with getting started or interested in exploring new avenues of creativity.”

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