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Olivia Coghe's Artsapalooza happens

this Friday

Photo By: Olivia Coghe


Ben Retcofsky, Managing Editor

Imagine having an outlet to express yourself through art: no criticism, no rules.

Olivia Coghe, senior Behrend student double majoring in Arts Administration and Digital Media, Art and Technology, will be holding her senior capstone project this coming Friday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students, faculty, and members of the surrounding community, among others, were allowed to submit their work to be either displayed, sold or both.

Coghe has hopes that all who attend will take something from the event. “I want them to be more aware of the Arts Administration program in general and I also want them to experience the art of Erie and their fellow peers,” Coghe explained.

The idea for “Artsapalooza” was born at the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester by Coghe. She wanted “artsa” in the title of the event to represent the shortened term referring to the Arts Administration major. Between weekly meetings and countless hours of her free time dedicated to planning, Coghe and her advisors, Emily Cassano, Matt Levy and Clark Tieman, were able to get roughly ten Behrend students and 15 local artists to submit work.

Behrend student organizations Dissonance and Tone-Acious will be performing, and there will also be a drum circle open to student participation hosted by the Behrend Personal Counseling office. Some Behrend students will also be displaying mini installations of work that tell a story and running a craft corner for attendees to create their own masterpieces.

“It’s inspired by the Three Rivers Arts Festival, I’ve been going to it since I was young,” began Coghe. “I enjoyed seeing the different types of art, it taught me that there is more to it than just painting and drawing. I wanted to show the Behrend community different types of art that they may not know about, and expose them to the artists that walk among them.”

There will be a vast variety of art forms on display during the event and Erie vendors will be displaying their own unique work. Each vendor will get their own table and will be allowed to display as much of their work as they choose. Some of the forms of art that will be on display include photography, acrylic paintings, handmade jewelry, pottery, natural soaps and lotions, woodwork, other mixed media creations, fiber art (crochet, knitting, sewing) and one Behrend student will be displaying her own clothing brand.

With all the time and logistics that goes into events of this scale, there are sure to be some challenges along the way.

“Penn State has a lot of rules for contracting people. I had to learn about contracts and insurance which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was just something I had to learn as a I was doing it,” said Coghe.

Since Coghe was the only student involved in planning this event, she had the opportunity to get hands on experience in all areas of event planning.

Coghe had to create a budget, for which she wrote a grant to Penn State asking for funding, all of which she received. She also had to design all the advertising for the event and was in charge of promotion. The Facebook page she created got over 80 likes and had 227 people say they were either attending or interested.

Furthermore, Coghe was able to learn and apply vendor management, specifically insurance for their art (which she covered the cost of thanks to the grant), and overall making them feel as if they are being treated fairly and professionally. She also had to receive the work from students, print and decide how to display it all. With regards to setting up the event, Coghe was able to find a group of Behrend students who are willing to help her set up and tear down.

But the most exciting part in Coghes opinion, “People wanted to be apart of it. I thought I may have trouble finding people who want to come and showcase their small businesses, but I had a large amount of people interested.”

After graduating this coming May, Coghe plans to return to her hometown and apply to non-profit organizations and local museums.

“Through this experience I was exposed to event planning which was something I was previously not very interested in. It gave me more confidence in my people skills as well. My organization and time management skills have also grown which will really help me out in the long run.”

If you are free for some time on Friday, head to the front lawn of Reed and check out “Artsapalooza”!