Ohio State’s name may be often synonymous with athleticism, but the organizers of Festival of the Finest want everyone to know that OSU is more than just a sports school.

Festival of the Finest is a daylong outdoor arts festival that will feature the artwork of OSU students, faculty and staff. Some of the art featured will include photography, drawing, handmade crafts, poetry, music and dance performances. The main organizer behind the event is the student non profit group, Ohio Staters, Inc.

“We have a hidden gem in art that often goes unrecognized,” said Victoria Alesi, a fourth-year in dance and international studies and the marketing and social media coordinator of Ohio Staters, Inc. “This festival gives students whose talents aren’t normally shown an outlet.”

In addition to viewing art, students can make art of their own at the festival. Alesi said that students can make T-shirts, discuss their reactions to works of art and contribute to collaborative art projects.

Ohio Staters, Inc. defines its mission as promoting the welfare and traditions of the university, said John Sparks, a second-year in computer science and engineering and the head of marketing for the organization. Sparks said Festival of the Finest aligns with the club’s purpose.

Victoria Alesi at last year's Festival of the Finest. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio Staters Inc.

Victoria Alesi at last year’s Festival of the Finest. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio Staters Inc.

“We are promoting a rich artistic tradition at OSU that is often overlooked,” Sparks said. “We also feel like it promotes the welfare of artists at Ohio State by providing an environment of support for their creative accomplishments.”

Ohio Staters, Inc. is also partnering with BuckeyeThon by including artwork from some of the children that the organization sponsors. The Council for Graduate Students will also exhibit some artwork from OSU graduate students.

Alesi said that one of the coolest things is that the showing is not exclusive to art majors but is open to anyone who has a passion or hidden talent for art.

“One of our artists last year, she wasn’t an art major,” Alesi said. “Her parents came and checked out her work. They were almost crying because they had no idea how talented she was.”

Catherine Lee, a third-year in art and technology, will be displaying some of her own artwork. This includes art that is a mix of original photography and drawings, as well as a wood sculpture with acrylic paint.

“Festival of the Finest is good way to show off some of my work that is collecting dust,” Lee said.
“It’s also a great way to see other artists’ work at the same time.”

Luyao Zhang, a graduate student studying economics, is president of the multicultural dance group Dance Illumination, Inc. It will be performing a dance that incorporates techniques of contemporary dance with a traditional Asian fan dance.

“We are a special group that combines different elements of different cultures,” Zhang said. “I think we align nicely with the purpose of Festival of the Finest. We show different styles of creativity and help people from different cultures to communicate.”

Festival of the Finest will take place on Friday at the Wexner Center Plaza from noon to 7 p.m. Performances will begin at 5:30 p.m.