Volume 93, Issue 61

Wednesday, January 19, 2000


Girl deserves undivided attention

Supernove shows no signs of brilliance

Festival proves arts still alive

Zuul's serve up new concoction

Festival proves arts still alive

By Sara Martel
Gazette Staff

Artist Pablo Picasso once said art washes away the dust of everyday life. Western's Festival of the Arts commissioner Ann Ranson not only holds this maxim to be true, but hopes to prove it to students this week.

Ranson, a second-year social sciences student at Western, has kept Picasso's words in mind throughout the festival's preparation, which has run annually for eight years. The result is a diverse, energetic and inviting event sure to add a bit of colour to any student's dreary day.

"It's interesting just watching people here," Ranson muses. "If we can just give some people the opportunity to take some time out of their day to relax and give them time to enjoy what's going on around them, then we've really achieved something."

In order to achieve this, Ranson decided to change the event's traditional name from The Fine Arts Festival, with hopes of attracting a wider demographic and avoiding any kind of pigeonholing with regard to what art is or should be.

"I think what we're trying to promote with the festival this year is the idea that art is all encompassing and that everyone in their own right, I suppose, is an artist," she explains. "So, perhaps we're trying to alter people's vision about the artist and make it so encompassing, that it appeals to every student at the university."

With a Battle of the Bands, art shows, dancing, live entertainment, music and buskers included on the menu, it would appear this year's festival is certainly on the right track to meeting all tastes.

Festival committee member and first-year science student Nicole Fox agrees that interest and appreciation seems to be piqued. "So far the reactions are quite positive," Fox states. "Lots of people come up and ask us what we're doing and ask about the purpose of everything here. So far, it's been pretty good feedback. The art show [in the University Community Centre's atrium] is doing well, a lot of people have been enjoying that."

With the fading nature of funding and education for the arts, Ranson hopes the impact of the festival will last far beyond this week.

First-year music student and coffeehouse performer Zita Dube shares Ranson's concerns. "I find our society is beginning to lose understanding of arts and how they affect our lives, so I think the importance of the arts festival, as a performer, is to show that art isn't dead," she opines.

"You may have to look for [it], but [it's] there and a lot of people are making a living at it."

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Copyright The Gazette 2000