As I walked into the Long Dog Art Festival on Sunday, a large sheet of paper covering the adjacent wall caught my eye. Guests of the festival could contribute to the paper mural in marker with doodles or haikus, which added to the event’s charm.
Soft folk music and the scent of microwavable pizza rolls wafted through the sunshine of the lower Horn Gallery and added to the casual, homey atmosphere of the event. The curators, Shara Morgan ’20 and Dora Segall ’20 (a features editor for the Collegian), offered hot tea to visitors as they entered.
The all-day art festival took place this past Sunday and featured musical performances in the afternoon. The 117s, a band composed of Zack Eydenberg ’18 and Nick Navari ’18, played, as well as the newly christened Pickled Jalapeños, a band composed of Jackson Schorer ’21, Zach Hollander ’21 and Josh Aberman ’20. Schorer sang a rendition of “Danny Boy” by Peter Hollins, while the others accompanied their original songs on guitar. In addition to the musical performances, student art — curated by Morgan and Segall — was on display.
A sign on the wall next to the mural declared the curators’ mission statement: “We wanted to make a safe space for this sort of artistic freedom.” Watercolor, photography, poetry, embroidery and zines were just a few of the creations to fill the room, from tiny notebooks to five-foot prints. Many of the works were unlabeled.
Morgan said that the variety of mediums within the festival highlighted her approach to art. “Anything you make creatively and with your heart, that’s art of some kind,” she said.
The goal of the day was to celebrate creation, to share without embarrassment and to develop pride in craft, dismissing labels that create self-doubt. “As I’ve been taking art classes, I feel very pressured to be ‘good’… I just feel like Kenyon as a whole is very competitive,” Morgan said. She wanted to do something that was a little less subjective and competitive to encourage more people to share their art. Students who submitted work appreciated the welcoming atmosphere of the festival. “Submitting to Long Dog was nice for me because it was a very easy way to put my work forward without having to feel like it was something to be judged as much as something to just put out there,” said Ely Peteet ’21, whose poems were on display.
This is the first Long Dog Art Festival, but it will not be the last. The curators hope that the event will be held every semester and cannot wait to see more art from the Kenyon community. “If you make something out of a creative vision, and you’re excited about this thing, then I want to see,” Morgan said. “I don’t care what it is. You could have baked it, you could have made it with chemicals, you could have drawn it.”