Art is everywhere at Rice. At first glance, it may seem like science is at the forefront of this university, but upon further inspection, one can find art in all corners and among all disciplines at this institution.
Showcasing this ordinarily underrepresented side of the Rice community is exactly the purpose of the CelebrateART festival, according to Claire O'Malley, the festival's head of visual arts. O'Malley, a Baker College sophomore, said past Rice students created the festival in an attempt to illuminate hidden artistic talent.
"Three years ago, two students decided to start this festival to showcase all of this hidden creativity that's on campus that really isn't seen because there's a lot of arts going on at Rice, and they're all kind of scattered," O'Malley said. "[The festival] is a really nice way to aggregate things and to really celebrate all kinds of artistic endeavors."
The head coordinators of this year's festival are Rachel George and Angela Guo. George said the festival's goal is to excite Rice students about the art on campus.
"The festival's job is to reawaken the excitement and the enthusiasm in the student body to go look into these artistic opportunities and to strut their talents as well," George, a Will Rice College freshman, said.
Guo said she believes the festival is an important opportunity to engage students who would not normally be involved in the arts scene.
"It's the only opportunity for many students who might not be involved in formal aspects of the arts at Rice to showcase their passions," Guo, a Will Rice College senior, said. "We include artwork and performances from bioengineers, varsity athletes, music majors and history majors alike."
This year's CelebrateART festival will run Feb. 14-15 and will sport a Valentine's Day theme. It is open to all Rice students, undergraduate and graduate.
George said the festival will include three major components. The visual arts component will feature a large gallery set up in the Rice Memorial Center showcasing the artwork of Rice students, faculty and local Houston artists, such as videos, photography, sculpture and architecture projects. Additionally, ArtLab, the overhead organization for the event, will be hosting art workshops open to any interested Rice students, and a Matchbox Gallery show will display the work of Rice artists the night before the
The second component of the festival is performance art and will feature the work of well-known campus groups, including performances by Spontaneous Combustion and the musical stylings of KTRU. The third component includes the interactive or "living" booths set up in the RMC,
"Throughout the festival, there will be booths in the RMC run by various groups within Rice and in the larger Houston arts community," George said. "Many of the booths have a strong interdisciplinary vibe supporting creative combinations of art and tech from crafts using electrode paint to wearable electronics."
In addition to providing Rice artists with a place to display their work, the management and clubs behind the CelebrateART festival are trying to establish a stronger art presence on campus, O'Malley said.
O'Malley said it is sometimes difficult to get students interested in art at a school mainly focused on science and engineering.
"We do go to a very science- and engineering-type school," O'Malley said. "I think that [art] kind of fades to the background of all the engineering stuff, which is amazing, and sometimes it's nice to see. There's a good intersection there, but it's just nice to see art come out of its shadow and have it be center stage for once."
O'Malley and George said they hope the festival's many events will encourage students with all different interests to participate in or attend the festival.
Baker College freshman Pauline Chen said she decided to submit a piece to CelebrateART because she thought it would be a fun way to display her artwork and enjoy the artwork of her peers.
"I decided to submit a piece because a colleague told me about it, and I thought it'd be fun," Chen said. "The CelebrateART festival gives students an opportunity to show their artistic abilities and calls for a time to enjoy
some good art."
According to George, this year's CelebrateART festival will differ from those of previous years because of the level of the involvement of clubs
"This CelebrateART festival has hinged on existing clubs at Rice proposing artistic projects or performances and then pursuing them themselves," George said.
O'Malley said she hopes the CelebrateART festival will help foster an artistic community on campus that stretches beyond the small contingent of art majors. She said she expects the festival will raise awareness about the various artistic projects at Rice and that including a variety of artistic styles in the event will ensure it is relevant to all Rice students.
"Hopefully, combining [many] disciplines will show people that you don't necessarily have to call yourself an artist to make art, but there is a way to appreciate it, and there's a context at Rice to appreciate it within,"