Art Beast journeys around the world

By Samantha Reed

The Rider community will travel around the world on April 22 during the university’s fourth annual Art Beast festival, with this year’s theme: Global Edition.

The festival, produced by Assistant Professor of Arts Administration Todd Dellinger and students of the Events and Festivals Management course, is a multifaceted, interactive arts event, incorporating live music, dance, theater, visual and fine arts for people to enjoy and create.

Senior arts administration major Danielle Russell is one of the marketing and branding coordinators for the event. Russell suggested the festival’s theme be globally focused.

“We wanted a theme that corresponded with the mission and vision of the festival,” Russell said. “Basically, we want to give Rider and the outside community access to a cultural experience. We want to bring everyone together to promote unity and creativity.”

Russell credits the day she and her classmates created the festival’s logo as her favorite experience of planning Art Beast.

“When we finally came up with the logo, after we decided on the theme, I feel like we finally all realized ‘OK, this is happening,’ and everything just really came together,” Russell said. “It was a tedious and crazy process, but it really submerged us into the art world.”

Participants said festival planning usually takes months or years, but the Events and Festivals Management course students only have the length of the 13-week spring semester.

“It’s me and my students, slugging it out,” Dellinger said. “Each year it grows in attendance and scale, but the class typically stays relatively small, so it’s always a bit of a challenge.”

One of Dellinger’s favorite moments when planning this year’s festival occurred “last week, the room was buzzing with activity.”

“It’s always when the group really rallies and the rush to the finish line begins that is really memorable — but the real good stuff happens this Friday,” Dellinger said.

This year’s Art Beast will be bigger and better than years past, with more ways to engage and enjoy the arts here at Rider, planners said.

There will be 10 bands, dance performances, visual arts engagement activities, coffeehouse acoustic performances, graffiti art, tie-dye Art Beast T-shirts, a silent disco — a DJ gives dancers headphones and they dance to a choice of songs — , great food, great fun and great friends, according to Dellinger.

Planning an event that is enticing to both students and faculty, arts majors as well as other students, and the outside community can be very challenging. Students of the course must organize the multiple acts occurring in different locations at various times, working with university officials to ensure a smooth operation all around.

Though coming up with everything from the concept to the final execution was stressful at times, for Russell, planning the festival with her peers was an amazing, immersive real-world experience.

“As long as everyone comes to the festival and has a great time, it will all be worth it,” Russell said.

Even with the support of a professor and the university, some aspects of the festival just simply cannot be run by the course’s students alone. Dellinger wants students to know that “volunteers are a major part of making this kind of event a great success.”

If students are interested in volunteering during Art Beast, they should e-mail Nigel Finley, president of the Arts Management Association, at

The event, taking place on the Bart Luedeke Center terraces, and on the adjacent lawns as well, is from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is free to attend. For more information, find Art Beast on Facebook, Twitter (@ArtBeastRU) and Instagram (@ArtBeast_Festival).


Printed in the 4/20/16 edition.

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