Creativity Festival brings community together

Jenna Miley prints a design on a cotton bag at the United Print Alliance booth during the Kent Creativity Festival on the Lester A. Lefton Esplanade. Sept. 28, 2019.

The Kent State University College of the Arts hosted its Creativity Festival on Saturday for the first time in two years. The festival, which was scheduled for the same time as the open-carry walk last September, was cancelled last year due to fewer vendors participating. 

Some local stakeholders, Kent State University, the city of Kent, Main Street Kent, local non-profit organizations and Kent businesses arranged the event. The idea behind this festival is to give a chance for people of all ages to create art and participate in interactive activities during the event.

LaunchNet teamed up with Eric Van Baars, the director of the department of theater, to do puppets and pitches, an activity that let participants create hand puppets and then learn how to pitch ideas. 

“This is the first year that we’ve done this,” said Tabitha Messmore, a LaunchNet venture advisor. “I know the theater department has done it before with the puppets, so we just kind of teamed up to do something fun and creative too.”

Wandering Aesthetics, an organization that does workshops and live performances, joined the festival with an activity that people with all skill levels could participate in. Their activity allowed people to become characters and recreate scenes from fairy tales alongside professional actors.

“We’re doing something called ‘Jumping Off the Page.’ We take children and we give them different costumes and prompts that we bring to the space, and they’re able to create their own stories like ‘Goldilocks’ or ‘The Three Little Pigs,’” said Matt Dodds from Wandering Aesthetics. “And then we narrate them and let them go through the actions themselves with whatever they pick out for the clothes or the different items.” 

Kent Interfaith Alliance for Reconciliation, Racial Reconciliation and Justice partnered up with Kent State student volunteers to do a project that consisted of 32 posts, each with identifiers such as “I’m a sister,” “I speak English as a second language” and “I identify as LGBTQ.” Participants tied colorful yarn that reflected who they are to create a web of interconnectedness.

“We’re putting on this project as a symbol that we may all be different, but as you can look at the web of the yarn, we touch each other’s lives. We’re all connected. Our diversity makes our community great,” said Judith Nedel, a member of the KIARRJ. “We may be different in many ways, but we’re also alike in many ways, and our diversity is our strength.”

Ase Xpressions brought life to the festival by performing modern and traditional African dance routines.  

The National Art Education Association student chapter created a project called “I Dream of Weaving,” which encouraged people to write on recycled fabric on hula hoops. The goal was to make a collaborative weaving of positive thoughts, said Amelia Golec of the National Art Education Association Student Chapter. 

Lisa Pettry, the education and public program manager at Hale Farm and Village, helped lead an activity called ‘Natural Spinning and Dyeing,” which taught children about felting. 

Music education students gave participants the opportunity to experience and explore musical instruments.

“We are helping people learn instruments for the first time. It’s going pretty well. We have a bunch of people that help out, and we all have different strengths. We have some percussion, we have a lot of brass trumpet players, saxophones, clarinets and so with all those people, we all kind of help each other out and we get the job done,” said sophomore music education major Ryan Freeman. “We help kids learn how to play instruments.” 

Contact Sara Al Harthi at [email protected].