First Creativity Festival celebrates the arts


Creativity Festival

Nathaniel Harvey

On Saturday, both the City of Kent and Kent State’s College of the Arts came together as one to host the inaugural Creativity Festival on the Esplanade.

“It’s where you can be an artist. Anybody can participate,” said John Crawford-Spinelli, dean of the College of the Arts.

Created by Crawford-Spinelli, the city of Kent and Kent State wanted a fun, artistic setting to really connect the campus to the city.

“We wanted to use the arts in order to bring the community together, both the university community and the City of Kent community and the surrounding region,” Crawford-Spinelli said. “And we thought that … the Esplanade that connects Kent State University with downtown was the perfect spot to do it.”

This festival was full of different activities appropriate for all ages, including a steel drum workshop, creative painting, writing on murals and sidewalk art. The Pull Up A Chair and Dance! workshop offered festival attendees a chance to dance in a circle of chairs.

“We noticed that there really hadn’t been any kind of festival or event that had taken place out here, and so we really wanted to create something that would allow people to come together — students all ages, children and adults, people of different abilities and different backgrounds, just everybody — and experience the arts,” Crawford-Spinelli said. “They wouldn’t have to necessarily have artistic ability, or maybe they didn’t know they had it … that’s why you call it the Creativity Festival.”

Participants of the event were a mix of Kent natives, students and families with children.

“We’re trying to really make the arts accessible for everyone,” said Effie Tsengas, director of communications and marketing for the College of the Arts. “We came up with this multiple generational event for the community and for the student body … to bring people together to feel more comfortable about doing art.”

Gabriella Boehm, a public health graduate student volunteer of the festival, said that the community of Kent is an expressive one.

“Everyone can basically be themselves, which is one of the reasons I love (the festival) so much,” Boehm said.

The event was also surveyed by the College of Public Health to see if there was a moral boost in with having the event so close to the colder months.

“Some people get the seasonal affective disorder … and I know that happens to me, so I anticipate winter with very negative emotion,” Boehm said. “Having events like this, where you get to enjoy and be happy, kind of reboots that area of your brain that normally would (think) ‘Oh no fall, after fall is winter.'”

If results of the survey are positive, the planning committee hopes to see the event become an annual staple in the Kent community.

“I think … we had a good response this year,” Crawford-Spinelli said. “Hopefully it will become a tradition.”

Nathaniel Harvey is the activities reporter, contact her at [email protected].