Plan-ifest 2011

By Samuel Charles

After what the college deemed one of the most successful Manifest festivals to date, ideas are in the works for the 2011 version of the urban arts exhibition Columbia prides itself on.

The Manifest kickoff meeting was held on Nov. 9 at the 1104 Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave. During the announcement, changes, improvements and preliminary plans were laid out for what people can expect at Manifest 2011 in May.

Manifest 2010 saw the first ever Great Convergence, a gathering Kari Sommers, assistant dean of Student Life, described as “bringing together the entire college community to celebrate [Columbia’s] creative spirit in one beautiful, well-defined moment.”

During the presentation, testimonials from students were shared to show the excitement and positive reactions felt about the Great Convergence. The opinions were all from students whose work was on display at Manifest 2010.

“This year’s convergence had all the potential to be something along the lines of the Olympic opening ceremonies,” one student expressed.

One of the biggest announcements made at the presentation was naming the student chosen to be Manifest director, the position responsible for implementing the festival’s theme. For 2011, different animals may be used to symbolize different departments and areas of study.

Maggie Sichter, junior art and design major, was chosen as director after her Manifest poster and plans for the festival received the most votes on Columbia’s website. The other two student finalists were senior graphic design major Alex Todaro and junior illustration major Erik Lundquist.

Sichter said because it’s Manifest’s 10th anniversary in 2011, the planners are trying to make it as vibrant as possible, and that could entail some changes from previous editions of the festival.

“I’ve never really been involved with the festival before, but as an outsider I saw things in previous years I would want to tweak,” Sichter said. “I’m in the Art and Design Department, and I work a lot with both fine artists and graphic artists. I’ve noticed in previous years there has been not as much of a presence from those two majors as I would have liked. I really want it to be a perfect 10-year anniversary.”

During her time at Columbia, Sichter said she has noticed how students’ attitudes and demeanors change in May when Manifest nears. She said one of her goals is to maintain that feeling of excitement throughout the academic year.

“When Manifest is happening, I feel like the campus jumps to life,” Sichter said. “That’s the campus I always wanted to go to year-round. The way it is in May is what I want my entire Columbia experience to be.”

Each year a different theme is chosen for Manifest. In 2010, different colors were chosen to represent different majors and areas of study.

During the presentation, several statistics analyzing Manifest 2010’s success were shared to gauge the attendee’s reactions and feelings toward the festival.

One question in the survey asked how likely attendees are to come to future Manifests. Out of 487 returned surveys, 93.7 percent of people said they were either very likely or somewhat likely to attend Manifest again in the future.

“I’m really hoping to incorporate Chicago into my design,” Sichter said. “I want to [express] that whimsical excitement we all feel living here.”