First-ever Blended Arts Festival comes to campus

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  • Fresno State Blended Arts Festival

First-ever Blended Arts Festival comes to campus

The Fresno State Blended Arts Festival, a collaborative event bringing together arts of various platforms, will provide Valley students and artists a chance to develop and share their work with the community.

The festival features a free guest speaker series from 2 to 4 p.m., followed by a concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at the Fresno State Concert Hall.

Participants will blend together music, art, lighting and sound design, video production, poetry, creative writing and voice acting to create a number of finished projects.

At 2 p.m., Liz Waldman, a professor of lighting and sound design at Fresno State, will speak in a master class titled, “Women in Arts: Focusing on an Independent Career Path.”

The next featured artist of the series will be Max Debbas, an entrepreneur and multimedia specialist, presenting “Create in Your Workspace: Finding Art in Work and Life.”

Wrapping up the free series will be hip hop artist Ruslan speaking on “Creative Process and Entrepreneurship.” Following the speakers, Ruslan will perform with fellow hip hop artist Jon Keith.

The concert will also include a performance from local Christian rap artist PQ, and will include a student showcase beginning with a live audiobook collaboration project that features the short story “World Cry” by creative writer Tara Williams.

Williams, who is a teaching associate with the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program at Fresno State, expressed how thrilled she is to have her work be part of the event.

“I can’t wait to hear and see it with the theatrical lighting and music. Each creative imagination involved adds a new layer to the aesthetic, taking the words off the page and into three-dimensional space,” Williams said.

The collaborative aspect of the project inspired her to get involved.

“Collaboration enriches all of us and opens so many creative possibilities,” Williams said. “I think when artists come together and create together it keeps us going, keeps us inspired, keeps us surprising each other and trying out new forms and new ideas.”

John Spankowski, a Fresno State music student and vice president of the Fresno State Composer’s Guild, shared similar enthusiasm.

“I feel as though this festival is the invitation for collaboration we need to kick start a new era of collaborative productions on campus,” Spankowski said. “Together, we can create new art that attests to the true spirit of human creativity and collaboration. It’s going to be a great show, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

Spankowski, along with other students, helped to compose a musical score for the audiobook collaboration. The score will be the backdrop for the presentation of Williams’ short story.

The event will close with a performance by the Fresno State Jazztet, an ensemble of jazz majors.

The festival consists of various student involvement in lighting design and composition of the audiobook reading, musical performances, as well as with the art gallery, website and social media for the event.

This collaboration brings together various departments under the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State, including the MFA Program in Creative Writing; Media, Communications and Journalism Department; Theatre Arts Department and Music Department.

For a lineup of the festival events, visit

Evening concert tickets are available for $6 at the door. For more information, contact Jose M. ElaGarza at

( Kaitlin C. Meier, student writer for the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State, contributed to this report.)