Archikulture Digest

Knights For The Arts

Knights For The Arts

Harris Engineering Center

April 3, 2009

University of Central Florida, Orlando FL</strong>

An Arts Festival set in the main hall of the Engineering Building! Who would have thought? But that’s the sort of innovative thinking we need in this day and age, and besides, the space was available and the acoustics weren’t all that bad. This unusual event came to my attention via Facebook. I submitted a short film for consideration and was one of the few non-UCF students at the event. It’s not elitism; the event just wasn’t well publicized and has yet to gain a reputation on or off campus. While I have a conflict of interest here, I’ll say a few words because a small event like this can grow to something great with time.

The Harris Building really does work for an Art Event, the post-post modern style riffs off Frank Geary with wavy roof lines and high sheet metal awnings that look like flying debris waiting for the next hurricane. As the artists set up clanky aluminum easels hauled over from the art department, they gradually covered up the wall display of The History of Electrical Engineering. Perhaps a dozen artists set up images, mostly in acrylic with some photographs by George Kong. These pictures were dark and mysterious, many featuring a woman in a night gown interacting with some sort of cloth dummy in rural woodland. Other artists presented fantasy forests or geometric abstracts, and Steph Gold even glued cupcake sprinkles on her work. The effect was nice, but in Central Florida, the philistine bugs will fail to respect the artist’s vision and eat them in short order.

My film ran twice in its glorious low res 640 by 480 pixels, and a decent crowd turned up both times. After the first run through, the very efficient Event Coordinator Tiffany trotted everyone outside for a poetry reading by Alyssia Nicholson. Her poetry focused on a rocky relation with her parents and the pains of growing up. The musical Duo of Bradd (two D’s, please) and Krista sang a few gentle songs, including the Beatles’ Blackbird. As they sang, we wandered around eating donuts, drinking ultra sweet iced tea, and appreciating art. Some of the engineering artifacts still remained – a glass case housed some ancient pocket calculators (one of which got me though the senior year of high school) and even an early Macintosh “Toaster” computer.

As a second guitarist set up, we were offered a choice – more folk songs, or a reading of “The Vagina Monologues.” The reading came courtesy of SOAR, or Speaking Out Against Rape. The SOAR women sold jewelry, buttons, and The Big Vagina Coloring Book. They then presented a nicely staged reading of Eve Ensler’s ground breaking work on female sexuality. This play gets banned fairly often due to its provocative title and Americas general prudery about sex. It made for a moving and entertaining wrap to the evening. It’s good to see that there still are places open to frank discussions of sex as a fact of life, and not just a marketing device for consumer products. Thanks, UCF!

For more information on Knights For The Arts, please visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#/group.php?gid=8123628694


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