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Art and Activism Month: Annual Arts Festival showcases diverse art forms, inspires creative activism

Photo credit: Tavi Memoli
Senior artist Gemma Larbalestier’s artwork is showcased in the art hallway during the annual Arts Festival Thursday, Feb. 1. The festival marked the beginning of Art and Activism Month, and along with the diverse art displayed, activities including bracelet and pinch-pot making were open to all students.

To kick off Art and Activism Month, the visual arts department, the Artemis Center and the Archer Council of Artists hosted the annual Arts Festival Thursday, Feb. 1. Students of all grade levels showcased their work through dance and musical performances and visual arts. ACA also hosted art workshop activities, including pinch pots, color and design projects and bracelet-making in the art studio. 

Gemma Larbalestier (‘24) is the president of ACA and helped organize the annual Arts Festival, which she said aims to represent student artists and celebrate all forms of art.

“The mission is to showcase students’ work and show artwork that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to show their friends and their teachers,” Larbalestier said. “It’s an opportunity for people to show what they usually would hide. Pushing artists out of their comfort zone to show their work is really exciting to see, and they always have a fun time.” 

Art teacher Hannah Kremin co-directs the Eastern Star Gallery program with Visual Arts Department Chair Marya Alford. Kremin worked alongside Alford and ACA to coordinate the Arts Festival by selecting and hanging up work and curating the spaces for the showcase. She said the festival is important because it celebrates diverse art forms and highlights work from all of Archer’s artists, not just students involved in the art program.

“This [festival] showcases just how much our community does, and I’m happy the entire community can see how impactful the arts are here at Archer. Sometimes everyone gets siloed off into their own departments and majors, and we forget that we have multifaceted, talented students,” Kremin said. “I love that we’ve got physical, visual artwork and then we’ve got performances happening. Seeing the marriage of how all of those work in our community is really special.” 

Larbalestier said the Arts Festival is a special event in the Archer community because of the abundance of art.

“It’s really important to me because everybody at Archer has incredible artwork that we’re not able to see a lot. The art hallway isn’t always entirely set up,” Larbalestier said. “Putting everybody’s work up and showcasing everything they’ve done throughout the year is so much fun for me, but it’s also fun for the student body and faculty to see.”

According to Kremin, the festival is mainly student-driven through the efforts of ACA and the whole Archer community. She said the goal of the Arts Festival is to inspire students to become change-makers in a small, yet accessible, way, starting with the arts.

“The mission of the festival is to empower students to understand how they can become activists through creating works of art and how they can get involved in things they care about through the creation of art or conversation of art,” Kremin said. “Art can make an impressionable, impactful statement, and it’s an easy avenue to get everyone involved and activated in the community.” 

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About the Contributor
Tavi Memoli, Senior Reporter
Tavi Memoli joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and is now returning as a senior reporter in 2023. She plays indoor and beach volleyball and is currently in her third year on the varsity team. She loves baking, surfing, and listening to music in her free time.

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