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Big West Arts Festival volunteer Karen St. Clair, left, helps Harmony McDougall, 11, of Sheridan make a bracelet at last year’s event at Sheridan College.Big West Arts Festival volunteer Karen St. Clair, left, helps Harmony McDougall, 11, of Sheridan make a bracelet at last year’s event at Sheridan College.

Big West Arts Fest to be replaced with symposium

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan College visual and performing arts department announced today its intention to launch the Sheridan College Cultural Arts Symposium, a new cross-disciplined, student-centered event, to replace the Big West Arts Festival.

SC art faculty member Rod Dugal said the new event will allow the college to shift resources and increase involvement of students with the community.

“The Big West was a wonderful event, started in 2006 with the intention of providing additional opportunities for the community to come to campus and interact with our students,” Dugal said. “That event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the local musicians, artists and supporters of the arts.

“Our visual and performing art faculty members are excited about the idea of an even greater event with a slightly different focus, but the end result will still be to provide opportunities for the community to visit campus and have an experience around the arts,” he continued.

The Sheridan College Cultural Arts Symposium is still in the planning stages, but Dugal said it will likely include a number of workshops, art-related activities, involvement from the college’s art, theater, music, culinary, welding and even machining students.

“By changing the timing of the event, most likely March or April of 2015, we will be able to engage our college students as well as high school students, which is a huge benefit to our programs,” Dugal said.

With 16 art classes offered during the spring semester that began Jan. 20, Sheridan College’s art department is serving more than 150 students.

“We are seeing an increase in our degree-seeking students, and we are also seeing an increase in our cross-disciplinary activity as well,” said Mercedes Batty, dean of Arts and Humanities. “Our art students are recognizing the value of the technical trades such as welding and machining and the reverse is also true. We have a number of arts students enrolling in a more technical program for practical reasons.”

The Big West Arts Fest has been held for several eight years at Sheridan College and featured live entertainment as well as a place for local and regional artists to show off and sell their work. The event also included live art production by SC students, kids activities and food and drink vendors.

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