Arts event engages U of T students

For one whole day students were able to get away from books and lectures – while remaining on campus.

The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus held its third annual multidisciplinary arts and culture festival, ARTSIDEOUT on Oct. 7.

The event, described as a “mini Nuit Blanche,” featured exhibits, installations and performances, as students and alumni transformed ordinary spaces into art venues to showcase their talents and creativity. The event is the largest art show held at UTSC.

The event ran from noon to midnight, but things didn’t pick up until 4 p.m. when the Open Concert introduced musicians.

The String Ensemble drew the biggest crowd as they played classics, including Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

Two young girls wearing pink sweaters decided to accompany the band as they twirled and danced ballerina-style while the audience giggled and uttered “aw” and “cute.”

Conductor Mark Whales joked about the weather, saying “the wind becomes a factor” for people performing outside with music sheets, predicting the papers that took flight as a strong breeze came through.

Christine Bernier, director of music and performance for ASO, says the event’s music component was expanded this year as there were five concert stages instead of three. Some of the concert times overlapped so several performances went on at once.

“This year was a lot less stressful and better organized considering we had some past experience under our belts,” Bernier said. “There were a lot more performers this year, and we managed to reach out to more people than previous years.

As the campus grounds rumbled with sound and music, every turn presented creative works for people to explore and admire.

“In the past, it was just me going around finding performers,” Bernier said. “This year, we had stage programmers instead who I found, and then they were in charge of finding performers and planning their own stages so we managed to get people from everywhere on campus and from all different clubs and groups.”

Leo Lam, independent projects director for ASO, says the theme of this year’s visual program was “engagement”, as projects “elicited audience participation and interaction played a key part in enriching the viewer experience.”

Patrick Misfud, a UTSC alumni, organized an experimental session called “Let’s Draw!” where he invited people to do spontaneous art pieces together.

“While I took studio here, a friend of mine and I did a collaborative series together and that really started my fascination with the idea of two people coming together and doing a drawing together,” Misfud said. “It’s always nice to see how two styles mix together.”

Students from the Foundation Studies in Studio class displayed their projects created from “one-found object” which are machine-made.

Nancy Naren, a new media major, says she used Coke and ice to represent the lack of nutritional value in soft drinks,.

“A lot of teenagers drink Coke nowadays but don’t know the side effects of Coke and what it actually does to your body,” Naren said. “So my concept is freezing the Coke and freezing what’s inside of my project, and as it melts away it shows the flavouring of the Coke dying.”

ASO wasn’t just a hub for arts students, but involved students from various programs and disciplines, as the Biology Students’ Association (BioSA) created a giant replica of the human heart.

Carlyn Figueiredo, the association’s publicity and marketing director, says it took a week of working around the clock to finish the project.

“This is BioSA’s first attempt at an ARTSIDEOUT project,” Figueiredo said, “We’ve actually never done one before, and we’ve got a lot of positive responses so far, so we’re really, really happy about it and definitely looking forward to doing something more crazy in the future.”

As midnight approached, the campus emptied out while people gathered under the dim lights of the Rex’s Den Restaurant to watch musical performers close the night with mellow rhythms.

Lam says an addition to this year’s campus-wide festival were commissioned projects that allowed artists to create large-scale works, as the turnout exceeded his expectations considering that the event was extended into a 12-hour program.

“This was a great program for artists to create large-scale works specifically for the festival that they may not have the opportunity to do otherwise,” Lam said. “In previous years, the event went from 5 p.m. to midnight. The new format increases accessibility and I’m happy ASO has grown organically the way it has.”