For some, art is a hobby, a way to make extra money, or an escape from daily tasks. But for co-creator of the event, August Stevens, and the Click Fest panelists, art is a form of revolution.
“People are using their artwork not just for the sake of art, but as their way of expression,” Stevens said. “Maybe that is their way of protest or education, it’s the art first.”
Click Fest is a multimedia, multicultural virtual arts festival hosted by the Cultural Arts and Diversity Resource Center (CADrc). The event encourages participants to showcase their work and take part in the healing process of creating and sharing art. All student artwork is displayed on the CADrc website, and includes paintings, photographs, compositions, and illustrations submitted by UC Santa Cruz students of color.
The event kicked off on Oct. 27 with a three-day panel series. The first day, “Art as Business,” focused on the inclusion of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) voices in the industry, and how to turn creation into a life-long career. On Oct. 28, panelists discussed “Art as Healing” for individual creators and the communities they serve. The third day centered around “Art as Revolution,” where panelists explained art’s role in activism and what it means to be an “artivist.”
Finding panelists that identified as “artivists” was important to co-creators August Stevens, the ambassador of ethnic organizations for CADrc, and Naythan Ramos, recent UCSC alum and CADrc chair. Ramos and Stevens also wanted to find panelists who not only make their living creating art, but are from local communities.
“Artists will be discussing a wide range of subjects from representation in their respective mediums, to using their art as a form of activism,” according to a press release from CADrc. “To accompany the panel discussions, student art submissions touching on their own experiences will be viewable on the CAD website.”
By encouraging BIPOC student artists to contribute their works to Click Fest, Stevens hopes CADrc creates a space for students of color to participate outside of the realm of social politics.
CADrc’s goal is to allow for discussion of issues affecting BIPOC communities in a creative and uplifting context, as opposed to in a debate or a protest.
“One of our main duties is to ensure that all students and all peoples are represented, heard, and acknowledged, and have platforms to speak and to share, to say their experiences,” Ramos said. “Whether it’s manifested through poetry, spoken word, or through the arts […], cultural arts is really our emphasis.”
Click Fest also hosted a short film contest throughout the week, and announced the winners chosen by student reviewers on Friday, Oct. 30. With 15 film entries, student producers awarded first place to Mark Figueroa, creator of “Fvck the System,” and second place to Goren Sarregui-Simon and their film “La Bota.”
After Click Fest, CADrc will continue to host virtual events, including a production from Kristina Wong on Nov. 20 for their Asian American Heritage series and a new podcast series starting in January 2021 that will celebrate 30 years of the African American Theatre Arts Troupe.
“We just want folks to know that the [CADrc] is here to serve the community, and to bolster everyone’s progress of growth as we all leave whatever background we come from and arrive at UC Santa Cruz,” Ramos said. “Showing that there is a place where folks can go to at any time, and know that they will be supported and loved. I think that’s one of the biggest things overall for the [CADrc], and that’s what we try to instill in everything that we do.”
To learn more about Click Fest, view submissions, and watch content, click here.