Culturama: Weekend of the Arts aims to make the San Gabriel Valley a more centralized hub for the arts

Photo+credit%3A+Mt.SAC

Photo credit: Mt.SAC

Culturama: Weekend of the Arts event, will take place this weekend from Friday, May 3 to Sunday, May 5. The event is open to participants from our college, other California colleges, and the surrounding community. According to the Culturama website, the event will feature fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction writers, journalistic writers, scriptwriters, actors, graphic artists, fine artists, DJs, electronic music performers, commercial musicians, drummers and all creative minds.

The event also features the 12th Annual Writer’s Weekend, and is open to students from other schools and the general public. One of the organizers, English professor John Brantingham, said, “The thing that excites me the most is seeing the students connect with professionals, and seeing that their lives can be larger than they ever imagined them to be.”

Students who have attended the event in the past have been presented with meaningful career opportunities they may not have found elsewhere.

“We’ve had people have book deals, and have people come out of the event with book deals because we have publishers here; for them that’s of course a very moving and changing thing,” Brantingham said.

The Culturama event was originally an event geared toward the topics of writing and literature, but it has since expanded into a multidimensional event. The event covers a variety of different arts such as poetry, literature, film, cinematography, dancing, journalism, graphic art and music. In regards to the evolution of Culturama over the years, Brantingham said, “Not everybody likes to write, I get it. But those who don’t like to write very often, like do ceramics and their wisdom can be expressed in that way.”

He added that there are multiple ways that people express themselves. “The fact that everyone expresses their creativity through different outlets led to the decision to incorporate many different aspects of art into the Culturama event,” Brantingham said.

For the first time, journalism is involved with workshops being offered in the newsroom on Friday and Saturday. Toni Albertson, journalism professor, is hosting the events and she said that she’s excited with the fact that journalism is included.

“We live in an environment where the arts, film, tech and journalism have merged, so it’s refreshing to see Culturama embracing these exciting changes,” Albertson said.

The presenters include accomplished actors, artists, writers and poets. Among those is artist Dean White who started his career at 16 doing storyboards for local commercials and has since worked in comics, animation, film and games. He is considered as one of the top color artists in comics today and has worked on some of the most well-known titles for Marvel, DC, and Image, such as: “All-Star Batman,” “Amazing Spider-Man,” “Uncanny X-Force,” “Captain America,” “Iron Man,” “Superman,” “Alias” (inspiration for the “Jessica Jones” Netflix series), “Thor,” “Kick-Ass” and “Black Science.”

Another author that will be presenting is Stephanie Barbé Hammer. She is a five-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Pearl, and the Bellevue Literary Review, among other places. She is the author of The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior, How Formal?, Sex with Buildings, and a writing handbook, Delicious Strangeness: A Pocket Guide to Magic Realism.

Also presenting is author Jo Scott-Coe whose new book MASS: A Sniper, a Father, and a Priest, is a first-time exploration of the relationship between the UT Austin Sniper of 1966 and his priest mentor, the Rev. Joseph Leduc. Scott-Coe’s nonfiction has been published widely, in venues including Tahoma Literary Review, Talking Writing, Catapult, Salon, River Teeth, Ninth Letter, American Studies Journal and Fourth Genre.

In regards to a long-term plan for the Culturama event, Brantingham said, “In terms of the arts, there’s no central hub.”

According to Brantingham community members do not go elsewhere to get their arts education. “If you just want to be a community member and work on your art, this is a place where it’s happening,” he said.

The event costs $7 to get in for students, and $15 for all other community members. For more information, visit the Culturama website.