By Dario Rangel Condor
As the bright lights dimmed, competitors for FSW’s first art competition of the year, Art 72, eagerly waited to take the stage at the Richard H. Rush Library auditorium on Feb. 2.
Art 72 is a three-day art competition where students from different artistic disciplines form groups and present their finished projects to be judged. First place, the comedy skit “Cha-cha-cha-changes” won $750 in prize money. Four honorable mentions received $100 each.
“The students’ work has to mean something. They can’t expect to mash all the topic on the guideline and win,” said Andy Buck, an Art 72 judge. “The groups must come together, have a direction, and execute.”
This is the first year Art 72 has been a three-day challenge. It started as Art 24 in 2016 as a one-day challenge, and became Art 48, a two-day challenge, in 2017. Groups were optional for the first two years. This is the first year they were mandatory.
“Central to the artistic process which is all about not only personal growth or the change of the artist but the desire to change something external and have this revolutionary drive” said Brandi George, the lead organizer of the event and an FSW English professor.
Competitors were handed the prompt on Jan. 31. Their projects had to center on transformation and include themes like surrealist art, identity being infinitely complex and the struggle to transform in this world.
The prompt also had mandatory random elements like the number three, dripping milk, a pit and a hybrid creature.
“The idea is that these random elements or words spark something that has to do with the theme of transformation,” said George. “There is so much room to play with when working on something involving transformation that I hope this random element helps guide their focus in a way.”
The idea of transformation was easier to grasp for some students than others.
“The concept felt very organic, raw, and [we] looked forward to the artistic challenge” said Jorge Cabal, competitor in Art 72.
Another competitor, Saian Coto, said he “wasn’t sure how to approach such a broad spectrum of ideas.”
72 hours later, students presented a wide variety of performances and artistic displays. Charlotte campus rapper James “Dashyru” Wright III performed an original single “Auto-bots.”
Jorge Cabal, Danica Murray and Nathan Ross won first place for their comedy skit.
“This started out more as a way just to have fun with my friends, and slowly developed into much more. It really took a life of its own and evolved into what it is today,” said Murray. “I was able to come up with an idea for a skit that really showed their true sides as well as followed the prompt guidelines.”
Murray, Cabal, and Ross all have upcoming projects. Murray will be in the play Andorra on March 28 at the Lab Theater of Florida. Ross will be in an FSW Black Box theater play around April. Cabal will be participating in FSW’s musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
“Most of these students probably walk past each other in the halls of the buildings without knowing how much in common as artist they have,” said Stuart Brown, FSW theater professor and Art 72 organizer. “Sometimes as students, as teachers, we get so caught up with meeting deadlines and obligations that we forget the big picture. But that’s what ART 72 is: the big picture.”