For the past two years I have attended UCR, I never had enough time to go see the Arts Walk. It was always school, work or general life issues keeping me from experiencing the annual arts exhibition firsthand. Now as this global pandemic rages on and my third year comes to an end, I was finally able to attend this year’s Arts Walk, albeit virtually.
As soon as I got off work I quickly sat down and pulled up ASPB’s Instagram account. They hosted this year’s Arts Walk on Wednesday, May 13, via Instagram stories. Swiping on their stories felt very surreal. I even recognized a few artists and was overall amazed at the level of skill and delicacy behind each and every art piece.
Paulina Ruiz, a second-year biology major began depicting their art on canvas as a result of no longer being able to meet and practice with their dance team. Ruiz’s art depicts Ballet Folklorico, a dance style that represents the states of Mexico. A dance style where costumes shine through and are representative of her culture. It is a beautiful piece that encompasses two different art styles into one — paint and dance fused together on a canvas.
Ruiz wanted to portray her culture via this method. “Folklorico dancers especially since I noticed there’s not a lot of art depicting Danza Folklorica,” stated Ruiz in an interview with The Highlander. Ruiz has been a dancer for five years and expressed that, “When (I) put my dance shoes on, all my worries go away.” The process of painting has also helped Ruiz take her mind off online school and family issues.
Art has become a way for many to reconnect with their communities, and also travel to places in the form of photography. In an interview with The Highlander, Jacqueline Stewart, a fourth-year history major, stated that looking at pictures brings her joy. She stated, “It takes me back to a certain memory because it makes me feel like I am actually there.”
Stewart has received comments from people who love her photographs, and even now during a global pandemic she believes people could use a little distraction. “For the most part, we are all stuck at home and photography could be a way to feel joy,” stated Stewart.
These two artists are one of many whose artworks were out on display during ASPB’s Virtual Art Walk. Seeing them, even on the screen of my phone, brought me joy and inspired me to use art as a creative outlet during this quarantine.
For many, like myself, this was the push needed to strive and bring joy to others via art. Stewart stated that since she was featured at the Virtual Arts Walk, she has been getting some messages from aspiring photographers. “So just keep on shooting and keep on creating. Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone will capture the same subject differently because we all see it differently,” stated Stewart.
Overall this year’s Virtual Arts Walk was beautiful. It is an event I can see myself attending for the remainder of my college career. The beauty and creativity that these artists are able to portray is amazing.