For the first time, Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts will be holding FNARFEST, a celebration of art-making at Loyola, which will take place in the Ralph Arnold Gallery (1131 W. Sheridan Road) from 5-8 p.m. on Jan. 24. FNARFEST will be free and open to the public.
FNARFEST is meant to bring together students and faculty of the fine arts department, as well as show off the department’s work to non-art students and community members, according to Rafael Vera, director and advanced lecturer of fine arts. The idea for FNARFEST was spearheaded by Vera, along with fine arts faculty members Lisa Armstrong, Kelli Evans and Betsy Odom.
“There’s a lot of new ideas, there’s a lot of new initiatives and there’s a very palpable energy in the [department] that is new, at least, to me,” Vera said. “We just want to let the rest of the university know that good things are happening, that we do exist, that our students are making really good work and that our faculty is doing an amazing job guiding them.”
In past years, Vera said one of the most popular events held by the fine arts department was the Juried Student Show, in which art students submit up to three pieces which are then curated to be put on display at the gallery. Given its high attendance, Vera and the committee decided to expand the event to FNARFEST and make the Juried Student Show just one part of it.
This year, out of 94 applicants, 21 students will be featured in the show where Jason Dunda, Chicago artist and this year’s judge, will award a first, second and third place prize, along with two honorable mentions. FNARFEST will include the opening reception and award ceremony for the show, where attendees will be able to enjoy free pizza and see the work of Loyola’s art students, Vera said.
FNARFEST will also include various activities, starting with wheel throwing demonstrations by ceramics professor Matt Groves and ceramics advanced lecturer Kate Biderbost. Along with watching the demonstrations, attendees will even be able to try their hand at wheel throwing themselves.
“Students that have never done it will be able to get on the wheel and get their hands dirty,” Vera said. “It’s a really interesting discipline and it’s a favorite among our students.”
Throughout the night attendees can listen to music, visit a button making station, take selfies in front of an FNARFEST backdrop and see a screen printing demonstration by Lisa Armstrong, an instructor of visual communication. Armstrong will assist attendees in screen printing the FNARFEST logo on a tote bag, which they can take home with them. The night will end with a raffle in which three winners will receive a kit of art supplies, according to Vera.
“[FNARFEST is] an opportunity for the rest of the student population at Loyola to get to know us, to see what is coming out of the classrooms at the fine arts division,” Vera said. “We think it’s important that the city of Chicago knows that Loyola has a good fine arts program, and I think it has been flying under the radar for several years.”