Kent gets crafty: Local artists teach skills at second annual Creativity Festival

Rocco, 7, gets his feet painted to help break the Guinness World Record the world’s largest barefoot painted mural.

Chyenne Tatum

Students and families were artists for the day at the second annual Kent Creativity Festival on the Esplanade.

Sponsored by the College of the Arts, the festival provides an opportunity for people of all ages and skill levels to create, share, and discover 

John Crawford-Spinelli, the dean of the College of the Arts, came up with the idea of the festival with other arts faculty members as a symbol of unity between the university and the Kent community.

“Because the city of Kent and the university are so closely tied due to the May 4 hardships, we wanted to bring both communities through art and celebrate who we are as individuals and as a group,” Spinelli said.

The artists organize and guide creative activities and encourage guests to explore their creative talents, and share the act of making art with others.

Events ranged from button making to sustainable screen printing.

One artists Kelsey Merritt, a senior fashion merchandising major, is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for World’s Largest Barefoot Painted Mural.

As attendees walked by, they could paint their feet and step on the white panel to create blue footprints.

“I was tired of seeing so much negativity,” Merritt said. “I wanted to create this mural to spread positivity and show people that they can be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

The panel she was creating for the festival was the third out of 140 panels that will be displayed at the football stadium when it’s finished.

“The current record is 25,000 square feet, so I’m going for 30,000,” she said.

Not only are people helping her by painting the mural with their feet, but Merritt’s project has also been funded by the Fashion School, JoAnn Fabric, and the Provost, for whom she is also an ambassador. She is hoping to have it on display by Oct. 13.

The Kent Interfaith Alliance for Reconciliation and Justice hosted the Unity Project, an activity where people wrap yarn around poles with identifiers, all aimed to create a sculpture. 

These identifiers ranged from everything to, “I am a student” to “I am a mother,” and any type of label that people can relate to. The purpose was to demonstrate how connected people are to each other.

“This is an effort to show that we are more complex,” Rev. Christie Anderson, co-convener of KIFA, said. “Our identities are much more connected than they are different.”

Chyenne Tatum is an arts and entertainment reporter. Contact her at [email protected].

Carter Adams, who is a photographer, contributed to this article.