Exclusive: ‘Unlock’ to be theme for Manifest celebration this year

By Vivian Richey, Staff Reporter

The theme for Manifest this year will be “Unlock,” a nod to the varying ways students can unleash their talents and creativity.

The theme was created by senior illustration major Giovanna Martin, who is the student director of Manifest.

“I was really thinking about growth and connecting with my inner self and unlocking that inner story that we all have,” Martin said, explaining the theme.

Martin said she took a lot of inspiration from the Art Nouveau movement for the design elements for a magical and mystical experience that is planned to be “fun, unique and colorful” and is all about unlocking student’s passion, creativity and talent.

The Art Nouveau movement is an integral component of modernism after its popularity in the 1960s which includes designs with muted, elegant colors and organic geometric shapes meant to resemble blossoming plants and stems.

“I hope we can unlock something extraordinary,” Martin said.

Manifest will be held May 12.

The theme was disclosed at a meeting held by the Student Government Association; Kari Sommers, the associate dean of Student Life; and Sharon Wilson-Taylor, vice president of Student Affairs.

Wilson-Taylor said Manifest relies heavily on student involvement.

“This is the ultimate example of ‘it takes a village,’” Wilson-Taylor said.”We cannot hold Manifest without the entire college’s participation.”

Thaddeus Jones, who is the director of the production for Manifest this year, is responsible for scheduling and booking the acts for the festival, and said he wants to see how people unlock their talent.

SGA presented survey results based on what Columbia students have said they want to see at Manifest this year based on experiences from last year.

The survey included responses from 250 Columbia students and provided information about how first-year students hear about Manifest, how many students are willing to participate and COVID-19 safety.

One question on the survey asked students on a scale of one to 10 how comfortable they felt being back in-person for the festival. Students nearly unanimously want to be back in-person.

Tyler Harding, a senior film and television major and president of the SGA, said every Manifest is different because of the student work that goes into it.

“I think Manifest is a celebration of who we are as students at Columbia and a celebration of the work that we can create,” Harding said.