One of the things I like best about UTM is that it’s filled with opportunities to display the incredible talent on campus, with the Artistic Resource Team’s 13th annual Arts Festival, held this past Friday, being the latest. Last year, ART was forced to reschedule due to a snowstorm that shut down the university. “We were nervous with all the snow because of last year,” said Becky Arnott, ART’s chair of the committee, on the preparations for this year’s event. But in the end, ArtsFest came together to provide an unforgettable night packed with UTM talent.
ArtsFest began at 6 p.m. with the work of over 30 visual artists displayed around the CCT atrium, allowing visitors to peruse the diverse works of art and to vote for their favourite to win the Viewer’s Choice Award at the end of the night.
At 8 p.m. the doors to CCT 1080 were opened to let in the eager crowd that was almost large enough to fill the 500-seat auditorium. Campus favourites Northern Souls returned as an alumni guest band to open the night. Many diverse and engaging performances followed, split into two acts. During the intermission, the UTM Dance Team performed two routines.
The judges for the night included UTM faculty Holger and Alison Syme, UTM alumnae Siobhan Burbidge and Jenna Malone, and musician and community member Sonia Sengupta.
The visual arts prizes went to Noor Nagawheh for print, Amarpreet Kaur for photography, Yi Fei Lin for drawing, Christine Rodenburg for painting, Lesley Hampton for sculpture/mixed media, Sophia Luo for digital media, and Cailin Stefan in the Viewer’s Choice category.
In terms of performances, Arvin Huang won in the solo category, performing well-known tunes (including theme songs of popular shows) and taking requests from the audience. The prize for duet went to the group Yalla Yalla, who performed their original song “Doucement”. The rock band the Lizards claimed the prize for Best Band with their enthusiastic cover of Radiohead’s “My Iron Lung”, and Arnott herself scooped up the prize for the dance category with her skillful tap dance routine to Anna Kendrick’s “Cups”.
The favourite act of the night was undoubtedly the three-member band Nebula, who won the audience over with their original song “Skinny Jeans”, inspired by the band’s experiences at UTM and described by lead singer Liyana as “sexy and raunchy, but that’s how we like it”. They won awards for both overall performance and viewer’s choice.
Other acts included Sean Yokoyama with his “sexy” saxophone solo (which featured familiar hits like “Thrift Shop” and “Demons”); Amar Kapur and Peter Serrado with a unique twist on “Fix You” by Coldplay; Yohanna Beraki with a cover of the hit song “No One” by Alicia Keys; Matt Lee and Ehsan performing the old favourite “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol; Sigrid Ariado, Lara Lechner-Anderson, and Kimberly Sauder of the UTM Dance Team with a sizzling hip-hop routine called “Headband”; and Walter Sim with a vocal arrangement of the Japanese band Supercell’s “Odds & Ends”.
A highlight of the night was host Dan Squire’s stand-up comedy between performances. Squire drew laughter from the audience with his provocative and sometimes risqué jokes. “I had a lot of censorship,” Squire admitted with a smile after the show.
“The host was great,” said Malone, who, besides being a judge this year, has also been involved with ART and ArtsFest for three years as a student. She added that the show was “one of the best performance series I’ve seen”.
ART aims to make art accessible to all students at UTM. For more information, visit utm.utoronto.ca/student-life/arts-culture/art.