Friday April 26 marked the date of the annual New Arts Venture Challenge. Led by Professor Stephanie Jutt, the competition is a campus-wide event to “encourage new thinking and innovative ideas.” The winner of the challenge receives $2,000 to put toward the execution of their venture (graciously gifted by Dean Sandefur of the College of Letters and Sciences). As the teaching assistant for the Arts Enterprise course, I had the privilege of witnessing the final event presentations last week during our Friday class session.
It all starts with the proposal. In mid-April, anyone who is interested in entering the competition submits six copies of the proposal to Professor Jutt. This year, 18 entries were reviewed by a panel of judges and narrowed down to four team finalists. The finalists were then invited to the Arts Enterprise class to conduct a live pitch in front of the class and judges.
The finalists were an impressive group, each representing a different area of the arts with intriguing, distinctive ideas. The winning project, “Victorian Eyes,” examined the relationship of literature, art, and statistics. The team gave a captivating demonstration of how statistics can be used to analyze the number of body parts referenced in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (the eyes and hands being particularly dominant). The resulting artwork depicts an image that represents the findings; in this case, the eyes and hands were drawn far larger than the rest of the woman’s body. It is incredible to see the final product when one merges three disciplines that are typically not thought of as complements.
The other three projects were equally as impressive, and each winning team received a $500 award. “Clocks in Motion” is a percussion opera that is seeking to produce a large-scale show with major players in the music scene. “Kinetic” is a duo that integrates GoPro cameras with screen dance, giving the audience the opportunity to witness a piece from the performer’s vantage point. “Cooking with Frank N. Foode” is a series of videos that teaches people how to cook a selection of dishes. It also includes a blog that attempts to educate people on genetic engineering in agriculture.
Each of the final projects brought something unique to the table, so it was no wonder that the judges had a difficult time selecting a winner. It will be fun to follow the winners and see what happens next!