Kent student to march community toward world record at Creativity Festival

Students and community members can attempt to help break a Guinness World Record while enjoying a variety of art forms at the Kent Creativity Festival Saturday.

The attempt to break the record for largest mural painted by barefeet is being coordinated by Kelsey Merritt, a senior fashion merchandising student. She said the idea came to her when she became dismayed by seeing only negative news stories.

“My favorite stories are ones that are fun, and there’s hope,” Merritt said. “I wanted to bring that to Kent – showing this is an awesome thing. It’s fun, it gets a whole community together.”

She said the record-breaking attempt is her attempt to create positive news.

Students and community members can help paint the mural at the Creativity Festival, which will be held Saturday afternoon near the Esplanade entrance to downtown. Attendees can dip their feet in paint and walk across the canvas in a coordinated pattern, which Merritt described as a “paint-by-numbers kind of process.”

The mural will be composed of many panels, which will be painted individually and put together at an unveiling event in October.

“Anybody young, old, in between- dogs if they want- can dip their feet in the paint,” Merritt said.  The design of the mural is being kept secret until the unveiling event, but she disclosed that it will promote unity and community, saying “Kent is an extremely diverse, global place … and we have the ability to come together peacefully and do something that’s fun, exciting and downright enjoyable.”

The mural will be 30,000 square feet – over half the size of a football field – once completed, which is about 4,000 feet larger than the current record holder in Hong Kong.

Elsewhere at the Creativity Festival, attendees can view and interact with exhibits presented by local artists and educators. “It’s really an interactive event where you can come down and everybody can do all different types of art,” said Heather Malarcik, the executive director of Main Street Kent, which is helping plan the event.

One exhibit will encourage participants to wrap yarn around posts that represent different personal identities, which Malarcik said will be a show of unity. This is meant to demonstrate that humans are more interconnected than some may realize.

Local marching bands will provide musical entertainment, and several food trucks will be on site, according to a press release. Also in the release, John R. Crawford-Spinelli, the dean of the College of the Arts, explained the mission of the festival.

“The event is meant to engage and inspire people of all ages to explore their own creativity and realize the transformative power of making art and sharing it with others,” he said.

The Kent Creativity Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and is free to attend.

Dylan Reynolds is the business and neighborhoods reporter. Contact him at [email protected]