Student-led multi-arts festival plans to create a resurgence in the community

By Christian McCarville

The arts are a fundamental aspect of the Rider community. The School of Fine and Performing Arts is home to a community of incredibly talented individuals, putting on a variety of unforgettable shows and performances.

ArtBeast 2021, an upcoming event hosted by the Arts and Entertainment Industries Management (AEIM) program, is designed to showcase the arts at Rider while supporting underprivileged artists.

ArtBeast is a multi-arts festival held over the course of three days, beginning on April 30 and ending on May 2. This event typically occurs on an annual basis but provides a unique experience each year. The focus of this year’s festival is resurgence.

The festival aims to reignite the spirit of the arts after the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of three days, the festival will include over 18 hours of programming, including discussion panels, workshops, prizes and more.

“I think the extraordinary lineup of performances Saturday night— ranging from Westminster’s Jubilee Singers, to the excerpts of terrific student dance performances, to the Pep Band, to special outside trans artists, deaf student artists and excerpts from “Upon the Shoulders” is what will be so exciting and gratifying to see as it so fully represents the breadth and depth of our community,” said Associate Professor Todd Dellinger.

Dellinger played a significant role in coordinating the ArtBeast events, but a lot of the festival was student-led. Junior arts and entertainment industries management major Ethan Manton got involved in ArtBeast through his arts events and festivals class.

“This class promotes student leadership because it forces people to take charge in certain areas where they normally wouldn’t,” said Manton. “A lot of delegation goes on­ —a lot of communication with outside organizations alongside faculty and staff of Rider University. It really creates a strong network and forces people to be interactive with them.”

One of the primary goals of ArtBeast is to provide a platform for individuals that are often underrepresented in the arts.

“More than 50% of contributors are non-white and non-male this year, with representation from our black, LatinX, Asian, east Asian, LGBTQ and other identities—raising the voices of those who have historically been underrepresented or marginalized,” said Dellinger. “This diversity of representation is essential to advancing and celebrating the future of arts and culture here at Rider and, of course, nation-wide.”

The festival is also currently raising funds for the Westminster College of Arts (WCA) in order to provide support for students in the arts who lack the proper resources. This fundraising is part of the ArtBeast legacy project that directly supports the WCA Student Relief Fund.

“The ArtBeast legacy project which we initiated and the corresponding Westminster College of the Arts Student Relief Fund—which we started to provide support for WCA students of historically underrepresented, under-resourced and often marginalized identities—is an extension of how ArtBeast tangibly supports and celebrates our student performing and visual artists,” said Dellinger.

Participants can contribute to this fund by donating to the @ArtBeast Venmo account in the business tab of the application. A direct link to the donation website can be found in the @Rider.AEIM Instagram page.

Manton explained that his role in ArtBeast relates to coordinating the fundraising and advertising for the event.

“My role in ArtBeast is that I am leading the charge for fundraising for our WCA relief fund,” said Manton. “I’ve also been coordinating with the radio station and The Rider News in terms of getting our advertisements out there.”

This year’s iteration of ArtBeast will be held remotely to ensure the safety of all participants.

Dellinger explained that this is both a challenge and an advantage.

“The remote nature of the “beast” this year actually helps as much as it challenges, in that we have so much more access to talent who can simply record and forward for streaming, etc. from anywhere in the country or the world,” said Dellinger.

The remote format of this year’s festival ultimately allows for a wider range of contributors and participants, making for a truly extraordinary three day span of events. For those wishing to participate in this festival, more information can be found on the @Rider.AEIM Instagram page.

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