ArtBeast is back for the first time since COVID-19 

By Julia Train 

TWELVE years ago, associate professor Todd Dellinger created the festivals and event management course to teach students everything that goes into planning festivals and similar events. 

The class focuses on event marketing, safety precautions, obtaining vendors and more. When it was created, so was the multi-arts festival ArtBeast. 

“The growth of the program, in size and depth, has been evolutionary. Although the ideas every class brings are different, the main concept of ArtBeast remains,” said Dellinger, founding coordinator of Arts & Entertainment Industries Management (AEIM). 

On April 28, the festival will come back for the first time since the pandemic paused it for two years. 

Each year, the name is manipulated to blend the original title of ArtBeast with the theme. For 2023, it’s called ARTSTORM to draw attention to the topic of climate change and natural disasters. 

“I started out with the concept that there’s a lot of things in the world relating to natural disasters and how [they’re] getting systemically worse due to the effects of climate change,” said senior AEIM major Gabe Kennis. 

He added the idea of taking the element of storms and incorporating that to the overall theme of the event and the entire class agreed. 

One of their classmates is also an Eco Rep and is helping with the art-making aspects by creating a disco ball out of reusable materials that will be used at the nighttime portion of the event. 

“We’re trying to use as many sustainable resources as possible, especially for the arts making aspect of it,” said junior AEIM major Megyn Kukulka. “We’re also using materials from years past, as a lot of our resources. Granted, we are given a pretty decent budget for the overall festival. We did make sure to kind of say, ‘Okay, what can we use in years to come as well as what do we already have that we can use for the festival itself ?’” 

They were given a $10,000 budget for the festival, which was allocated after their proposal was approved by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. 

They began promoting the event about two months ago on Instagram and tabled throughout the week of April 24 with a photo booth in front of the Student Recreation Center (SRC). The photos were uploaded to a Flickr that’s linked to the @Rider.aeim Instagram account. Students can go in and find the photo of themselves and post it with #artstorm23. 

The photobooth will also be at the festival on Friday. 

The class is also completing a paint-by-number legacy project to raise money for a diversity, equity and inclusion scholarship. Those that wish to participate can pay $3 to paint a square themselves or sponsor one, where an AEIM member will paint it for them after their donation, Kukulka said. 

In addition to the paint-by-number, there will be drag artists, local musicians and art making activities: including sand bottle art, painting and slime making. They are also bringing education to the event with the Rider poets’ booth, Rider’s Libraries’ virtual reality experiences and a sound healer. 

“Education and our legacy project are two different ways that we are hoping to make those long term impacts and not just affect the campus by having an awesome event,” said Kennis. “But also having an event that might [change] how you look at poetry, [virtual reality] or sound healing and also making sure to give back to make this campus experience more vibrant and exciting for the future.” 

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