Kevin Sussy/Contributing Photographer Students come together to look over art presented by the Art Awakening Festival in the Mandela Room. The festival was held as the creative activity part of Research Days to provide a fuller picture of what being a student at Binghamton University is all about.

Those who attended the first Art Awakening Festival in the Old University Union Wednesday and Thursday were met by an eclectic showcase of the creative student groups who fall, in the most diverse ways, into the category of “art.” To boast a united front between the artistic community on campus, Art Awakening was held as the creative activity part of Research Days to provide a fuller picture of what being a student at Binghamton University is all about.

According to Andrew Davidov, a senior majoring in English and a co-founder of the festival, when people think of BU, they’re often confronted by its reputation as a school that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

“One goal of ours is to stop Binghamton University from focusing on STEM and start focusing on STEAM,” Davidov said, adding arts into the acronym.

With the inclusion of Art Awakening into Research Days, students from any discipline, not just the arts, can gain a more balanced exposure to the opportunities available to them on campus.

Art Awakening separates itself from the usual tabling that occurs in the Old Union. It isn’t just meant to attract new members to groups, but also to provide a golden opportunity for these groups to meet and collaborate. Art Awakening was itself a collaboration. It was co-founded by Tiffany Moustakas, the president of the Alpha Delta Phi Society and a senior majoring in English, along with Davidov, who organized a group of other independent students with a vested interest in the representation of the arts on campus. The result was a festival that boasted an attendance of 20 artistic student groups, each with a unique definition of what it means for something to be considered “art.”

“I believe that the best art is created when diverse disciplines come together for some larger purpose,” Davidov said.

The first day of the festival featured an open mic in the Undergrounds for the performing art groups on campus, while the second day featured an elaborate collective of tabling in the Mandela Room and Old Union Hall. This collective tabling was meant as an all-encompassing showcase to demonstrate the artistic community on campus. To participate in the tabling, the groups were asked to make their exhibits interactive for attendees. While some took to painting bicycles, others decided to sit in a circle and meditate. By having all of these groups in one room, the hope was that some of them would interact with each other, resulting in some collaboration.

In a society that is moving toward the importance and practicality of STEM education, it’s important that students across the disciplines don’t lose sight of what the arts have to offer. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the arts on campus is that you don’t have to be an art student to draw and you don’t need to be an English major to write. College is one of the few times in one’s life where there is both time and opportunity to cultivate one’s creative passions. Whether you like photography, rapping, painting or writing, there’s a group at this school for you to bring your creative energy to.

BU President Harvey Stenger also stopped by the festival to show his support for the arts on campus.

“Binghamton University has tremendous amounts of energy around the arts from performing arts to visual arts,” Stenger said. “To have this showcase of so many students involved in the arts is a great new tradition that we hope can parallel the tradition of Research Days.”

Release writer Tiffany Moustakas was not involved in the publication of this article.