UNCA’s Arts Fest explores creative intersections

LEND A HAND: UNC Asheville’s campus community and the broader Asheville community are invited to take part in three days of arts-centered events during Arts Fest. The UNITY installation, created by Nancy Belmont, is a giant outdoor web celebrating the “different identifiers that speak to the many aspects of our humanity.” Photo courtesy of Belmont

The Quad at UNC Asheville, though idyllically green and perfect for sprawling on a sunny day, is also an ideal outdoor maker space. It’s home to occasional live music performances such as the popular Concerts on the Quad series. And, Thursday-Saturday, April 5-7, the Quad and other university locations become a hub of creativity and conversation as UNCA celebrates its annual Arts Fest.

This year, the three-day event “will explore intersections through the arts,” says the university’s website. Along with exhibitions, concerts, readings, dance performances and a ceramics sale, Arts Fest also offers installations and presentations aimed at engaging students and the broader Asheville community.

UNCA students, faculty and staff built two interactive installations, created by Vessence Corp. CEO and chief inspiration officer Nancy Belmont, on the Asheville campus. “With the SOAR installation, participants are invited to examine what is burdening them by writing words on river rocks and then laying them down as they let go of their weight, and then select a paper crane to hang as a symbol of their dedication to soar,” says a press release.

The UNITY installation is “a giant outdoor web made of 10-foot poles and colorful yarn” intended to celebrate the “different identifiers that speak to the many aspects of our humanity.”

Arts Fest also includes a presentation by artist and Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow Mel Chin on his plans for augmented reality installations in Times Square, beginning on Earth Day, April 22. Chin is working on the Wake Project with UNCA students in art, engineering and new media.

And, tying the local environment into the multifaceted artistic canvas, artist Betsy Damon plans to facilitate “The River and Art: One Voice.” The visioning workshop will “discuss and brainstorm potential public art installations for the French Broad River watershed,” according to a press release. In the event The People’s Water: Stewardship Through Art, Damon will present images from her 35 years of working with and for water, including The Living Water Garden in Chengdu, China; and the Living Waters of Larimer in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Learn more about Arts Fest at arts.unca.edu/arts-fest

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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