|Senior Student Hopes Weekend Arts Fest Will Be His Lasting Legacy
March 25, 2008
Contact: Bill Giduz
Editor's Note: Because of the Davidson-Wisconsin "Sweet 16" basketball tournament this weekend, the Davidson Creates festival has been postponed until Friday-Saturday, May 2-3.
|Darryl Ratcliff posed in front of his artwork in the Belk Visual Arts Center. |
Davidson senior Darryl Ratcliff wants to leave the college with a more enduring legacy than his own four years' contribution to its visual arts program. Ratcliff is a gifted painter who holds Davidson's prestigious Romare H. Bearden Scholarship-but his real passion is helping fellow artists succeed. Toward that end, he's reviving an old campus tradition and organizing the "Davidson Creates" public arts festival for Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29. For the most up to date schedule of events, visit http://davidsoncreates.dpurr.com.
The college staged a faculty-organized fine arts festival annually from 1948 to 1967, but there has not been a comprehensive public arts festival since then. Ratcliff has organized participation of about 130 Davidson students for a two-day extravaganza that will showcase drama, dance, music, spoken word, photography, visual art, film and fashion.
He has also raised thousands of dollars from college constituencies to bring in guest artists, manufacture t-shirts and buy material for the events. Events include a dance exhibition that moves to different locations around campus, showings of student films, a display of sculpture made from recycled materials, presentation of a children's play on a mobile hay wagon, a battle of the bands, demonstrations of techniques by professional artists, nighttime projection of the winning entry in a six-word story contest on the outside wall of the Knobloch Campus Center, and a Concert Series performance by Romanian violin virtuoso Liviu Prunaru. An opening reception will be held Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Alvarez College Union, which is the site of most activities. All events except the concert series are free of charge.
Ratcliff has been working on Davidson Creates for almost a year. He based the idea on his experience in high school with a multi-state arts festival. "It was amazing," he said. "All the arts were there in one place at one time. I thought it would be great to get Davidson students motivated and excited about showcasing all the arts in a similar fashion here."
He gained further experience for the organizational challenge last summer, when he was one of 75 students nationally to win an ExxonMobil Community Internship. Ratcliff served his internship as a grant writer for a children's music group, Choristers Guild, in Dallas. The experience included attendance at a national workshop on the nuts and bolts of grant writing. He organized Davidson Creates volunteers into seven committees, and became officially registered as a student organization to help secure funding.
"I want to help creative people make a living out of being creative," said Ratcliff, an art and political science double major. After he graduates in May, he plans to work in fundraising for a non-profit arts organization for a year or two, then earn an M.B.A. degree in preparation to run a non-profit. Ratcliff has spent a tremendous amount of time in his final year at Davidson in organizing the arts festival, but is convinced that the rewards will justify the effort. "We have great facilities for art at Davidson, but groups don't interact much," he said. "Art is best when it's shared with other artists and the public. Davidson Creates is just a matter of working with all these groups on what they already do to make a bigger impact."
While he hopes this year's event will succeed, he admits that the true measure of its success will be whether another student picks up the mantel of leadership and stages Davidson Creates II. Ambrice Miller '09 has accepted leadership for the 2009 edition. "Another 20 years?!" Ratcliff mused. "I certainly hope so!"
Others involved in the Davidson Creates steering committee are Cody Elder '08 (vice president), Andrew Waddell '08 (treasurer), Melissa Gilkey '09 (music), Thomas Christy '10 and Seth Kester-Irwin '10 (film), Harper Addison '08 (dance), Martelle Esposito '08 (visual arts), David McClay '08 (theatre), Eric Morel '09 (creative writing) and Samantha Karlin '10 (fashion).
Members of the Davidson Creates team are (l-r) Eric Morel '09, Martelle Esposito '08, Cody Elder '08, Harper Addison '08, Darryl Ratcliff '08, David McClay '08, Melissa Gilkey '09, Thomas Christy '10.
Sponsoring organizations include Androgyny, Ars Longa, Changing Minds, College Union Board, DPurr, Davidson Dance Ensemble, Dance Team, Dean Rusk International Studies Program Student Advisory Committee, Decipher Break Dance, Environmental Action Coalition, Friends of the Arts at Davidson, Gamut Dance Company, Just Peace, Lake Norman Jugglers, Oops Comedy Troupe, Organization of Latin American Students, Photography Club, President's Office, Shades of Brown, Swing and Salsa Dance, Women's Committee, and WALT student radio.
DAVIDSON CREATES ARTS FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Davidson College's "Sweet 16" basketball tournament appearance on March 28 has led organizers of the festival to reschedule the event to May 2-3.
For more information, call 704-609-8689.
Posted By: Bill Giduz