RU’s Second Annual Contemporary Arts Festival

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This past week, Reinhardt hosted its 2nd annual Reinhardt Contemporary Arts Festival and did not disappoint.

This three-day festival celebrated Reinhardt’s literature, art, theater, film and music departments, as a plethora of events and activities were held in the Bannister Glasshouse and the Falany Performing Arts Center March 15-17. Faculty members and guest artists hosted events all day as concerts and shows were performed throughout the entire festival.

All three days were packed with engaging events such as poetry readings, scenes from absurdist theatre and presentations of contemporary compositions. To kick off the festival, composers Douwe Eisenga, Bill Susman, and Marc Mellits led a roundtable discussion of styles and compositional approaches on Wednesday in the Bannister Glasshouse. They also ended the event with a Q&A session with the audience.

“All three artists thoroughly explained the fundamental learning of multiple composition styles,” said freshman Zayda Clark. “Being a theater major, this was really helpful for me to know that the basics we learned from day one will still be implicated in our future works throughout our careers.”

Following the composer’s roundtable, editor Mark Roberts introduced Reinhardt’s launch of “The James Dickey Review”, as authors William Wright, Roberts, Ann Hite and Lisa Russell all presented poetry readings of their original works. Students were gratefully engaged, as all three authors sold pieces of their work and signed autographs to close the event.

To start off day two, a concert featuring various works, followed by a large-group performance of Terry Riley’s seminal composition was held in the Falany Performing Arts Center at noon. Visual film artist Jason Mitcham followed the performance with his discussion about his technique of “animated painting” and its use in film making. His presentation ended with a Q&A session with the audience.

“The animated painting session by Mitcham was my favorite event of the entire festival,” stated sophomore Kyle Madden. “Painting has always been an enjoyable hobby for me growing up and to see it used in professional animated movies was completely intriguing. In my theatre production class, I’ve become fascinated with animated movies and to see it come together with my favorite hobby gave me plenty of ideas I plan to work toward down the road.”

To wrap up day two, a showing of the film “Viewing of A Scanner Darkly” was held in the Falany Performing Arts Center later that evening. This was hosted by Provost Roberts who also provided an introduction to the film and led a group discussion after the viewing.

The final day of the festival was full of entertainment, as Reinhardt students and faculty had the opportunity to perform with the professional composers. At 12 p.m., the faculty and students of RU performed multiple compositions in the Falany Performing Arts Center. Composers watched and critiqued as they later joined the students and teachers, and performed compositions with them. Mellits, of Chicago, led the compositions as the performance gracefully echoed throughout the corridors of the arts center.

To end the day, composers Eisenga, Mellits and Susman performed a concert for all of the students and faculty, closing the festival with a standing ovation from all of the participants.

“All three days of this festival were one of the best times I’ve had here at Reinhardt. The annual arts festival here is always an exciting event, as this year it proved to be one for the books,” said junior Devin Francios. “Being able to perform with these amazing composers was a complete honor, and I will cherish it as I continue to pursue compositions in my career. The festival as a whole was three days full of blessings, as I studied and learned from some of the best out there. I’m only expecting next year’s festival to be even better.”

The Reinhardt Contemporary Arts Festival was a complete success with knowledge, entertainment and excitement spread throughout all of the participants. It was three days full of exhilarating art events and knowledge opportunities. The anticipation for next year’s festival is clearly already in full effect.

Written By: Daniel Hinton
Pictures By: Erin laas

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