When someone mentions Villanova University, people tend to think of basketball and business. While those categories hold notable and prestigious value, the University’s art scene has been put on the back burner, at least until recently. On this past Saturday, one of the largest and most successful student-run art festivals, called Villanova Vision, took place on campus. Students, visitors, and staff roamed the exhibits in the Connelly Center witnessing the hidden talents within the student body. From photography to magic shows, Connelly bustled with eager eyes appreciative of this newfound opportunity for self-expression.
The festival layout included performances in the cinema, a videography room and an array of fabric boards lining the walls in Connelly with assorted mediums of art. The set up of Vision established a fluid environment where the art appeared neatly integrated into the everyday commotion of the Connelly Center. Furthermore, Vision not only gave artists a platform to display their art, but also the potential to develop their artistic careers. Visitors engaged with the artists by putting in personal commission requests and booking photo-shoots with photographers.
In a brief conversation with one of Vision’s founders, Abby Rivoir, she outlined her intention for creating Vision and why she believed it necessary for all Villanovans. “Art continuously introduces me to the most beautiful people I know and has helped me to discover essential aspects to my character,” Rivoir said. “I’ve seen the ways that art can influence and unite a community, and I noticed that Villanova lacks this transformational component. There are so many artists on this campus that felt alone in their passion, including myself. Vision was a way to help us be seen and heard on Villanova’s campus, and to recognize the impact that art can have on community and personal relationships.”
The University perpetuates an atmosphere of excelling academics and sports, and Vision acts as the progressive organization to spur forward the artistic culture lacking on campus. Matt Ballas, who is currently senior, commented on Vision’s unique mission and platform stating, “All four years at Villanova, I never felt like there was any art scene to go to as a collective, and now there is,” Ballas said. “It makes me happy for all of the art kids who are underclassmen and now have something to look forward to.”
The media marketing for Vision embarked on a new form of club advertising. Members of Vision posted original videos made by Rivoir to their social media accounts, in order to spread the word of this new organization. While other clubs, such as SpO and NOVAdance have fundraised through social media, Vision expounded upon this platform as their entire form of advertising relied on digital communication and custom videos for this festival.
Allowing students to bring a range of assorted art that represents their background, personal values and relationships, facilitates an environment of openness, and the opportunity to engage with material that provokes thought and discussion. Similarly, one of the artists who participated in Vision stated the following: “Vision was an amazing event that put Villanovan artists at the forefront of campus, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of that. There are so many creatives here, and being able to have our own space and presence on this campus, even for just a day, was priceless. I feel so much gratitude for the work of those who planned Villanova Vision, the artists who participated, and those who came to see what we’re passionate about. Everyone involved made it an incredible experience.”
As the day came to a close, Vision received a plethora of positive feedback and excitement for the year to come (2020 Vision). Many new members of the student body are excited to participate in the Vision themselves.