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C3Expo brings attendees together for love of art, anime, cosplay and more

With a turnout of more than 100 attendees, the C3Expo exhibited artwork, panels, music, cosplay and fun in its second year.

This event was held on Saturday, Feb. 3 in the fourth and fifth floors of the Student Center on 754 S. Wabash Ave. It was hosted by Columbia’s Japanese Anime and Manga club. 

Club president Jay Vazquez said that the idea of hosting the C3Expo came about after going with friends to a convention and asking why Columbia didn’t have their own convention.

“We brought it up to our president at the time, and that’s how it came into fruition,” said Vazquez.

Half of the event space was used to host the artist alley, where Columbia student artists sold their artwork, ranging from prints to stickers to keychains and pins, while the other half was used to hold showcases such as a ballet workshop by Renegades En Pointe.

A Cosplay Masquerade was held with local cosplayers as guest judges such as Count.Elizabeth and Amiastra, both social media creators on Instagram and TikTok who have dressed up as iconic characters like Harley Quinn and Buggy.

In the lounge was a photobooth shot by CosMeetUp Chicago, an inflatable pool with balls and a table hosted by representatives of the Chicagoland convention Anime Magic.

Vice-President Liliana Popi said that members of the E-Board are part of the cosplay community so they “reached out to people, spread the word and networked through the entire community.”

The fourth floor had events like a presentation from New Rose Media, tarot card readings from Call of the Cauldron and a one-shot campaign by the Dungeons & Dragons club.

Sophomore television major Julia Murray sold different colored potions and necklaces that had water with mica powder. Once the potions were shaken, the mica powder would swirl around the bottle.  

Murray said that seeing reactions to her necklaces “makes it all worth it.”

“I could sell this online as there’s a market for it,” Murray said.

Senior illustration major Jesus Amador was selling prints and promoting his graphic novel fantasy series of original characters.

“I really wanted to create an outlet for people who wanted to find a place to fit in. So that’s kind of what got the ball rolling for me,” Amador said.

Many students cosplayed as characters from various media such as from anime and anything pop culture-related.

Senior musical theatre major Cali Hegeman cosplayed as Dr. Teeth from “The Muppets.”

Senior acting major Ainsley Olson cosplayed as Aziraphale from the Amazon series “Good Omens.” They said they enjoyed being able to see fellow students cosplaying and showing their work.

“I’m a teaching assistant for the stage combat department and I’ve run into a couple of my students and one of my bosses from my on-campus job,” Olson said. 

“The whole point of our club is to gather a safe space and community for geeks and nerds all around and a con is the pinnacle…We love going to [conventions] and we love hanging out with them. So why not bring it here?” Vazquez said.

SOC representative Bryce Hamel contacted Columbia’s clubs over having a panel for them in addition to helping in audio mixing and for the cosplay meetups.

He said people should come to the event in the future “because you’re directly supporting many artists, panelists and performers that have something to really show here…You’re allowing more students that are creatives to bloom within the industry and be noticed.”

“It’s fun to see the Columbia community really just rally, have a fun time and get to be nerdy,” Olson said.

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About the Contributors
Uriel Reyes
Uriel Reyes, Reporter
ureyes@columbiachronicle.com   Uriel Reyes is a sophomore music performance major, minoring in journalism. He primarily covers the Muesum of Contemporary Photography, and the Dance and Theatre Departments. Reyes has also written student spotlight articles and film reviews. He joined the Chronicle in January 2023.   Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Lukas Katilius
Lukas Katilius, Photojournalist
lkatilius@columbiachronicle.com   Lukas Katilius is a junior photojournalism major. He has covered various campus and Chicago events. Katilius  joined the Chronicle in July 2023.   Hometown: New Lenox, Illinois