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The goal was to celebrate the arts at the University of Delaware by creating an event where all students — regardless of major — had the opportunity to flex their creative muscles.
The result was UD’s first State of the Arts Festival, a two-day event in early May that featured works in a wide variety of artistic genres by more than 50 students.
The celebration included a visual arts gallery in the Studio Theatre in the Roselle Center for the Arts which showcased pieces of digital artwork, pencil drawings, acrylic paintings, black and white photography, scenic design model boxes and costume designs. The event culminated with a live performance in Thompson Theatre featuring student-choreographed dances, percussionists, a spoken word poet, and singing acts.
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The first UD State of the Arts Festival featured a visual arts gallery with works of more than 20 students from all academic disciplines.
A collaboration between the Department of Theatre and the Resident Ensemble Players (REP), the festival was designed to celebrate student artists from all academic disciplines. Nearly three-quarters of the participants had majors not generally associated with the arts, such as economics, chemical engineering and biological sciences.
“Most of us are raised doing some kind of art as kids,” said Steve Tague, theatre department chair and REP artistic director. “But the older we get, the harder it gets to squeeze it into our lives. Giving students the opportunity to perform or display their art creates a goal, a place to put the artist’s energy, to share the work and by sharing it, communicate with others.”
Jordan Rosales, a junior geological science major, was excited to have the chance to display his monochrome styled landscape photographs. “As a geology major, I'm always going to different states and sites and have incorporated my hobby of photography by taking pictures of the different places I've gone,” Rosales said.
Parsa Hoque, a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences, displayed vibrant digital art pieces of fantastical creatures.
“It was a sudden burst of inspiration that nudged me toward registering and submitting my favorite art pieces, much like the same way I make my own art,” Parsa said. “I am glad there is someone out there that looked at my art and it made them happy. That is why I do art, to reflect my happy thoughts in the hope of making others happy.”
She attributed her passion for all things art, including the art of life, as a contributing factor in pursuing her degree.
REP company member and UD alumnus Michael Gotch was instrumental in creating and organizing the festival. He is looking forward to seeing the event evolve in the coming years.
“We hope to continue this larger, shared conversation with student artists in the future and see this collaborative showcasing of student-created work — both performing arts and fine arts — grow and flourish,” Gotch said.
UD’s A Capella group Vocal Point participates in the festival performance.
Article by A.R. McGinty
Photos by Evan Krape and courtesy of Resident Ensemble Players
June 30, 2023