The Crimson White

2013 a transition year for DCAF

Becky Robinson

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For three years, Creative Campus has hosted the popular Druid City Arts Festival. Starting this year and continuing forward, after a long transition, the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission will be the festival’s new host.

“Creative Campus is an idea machine,” Rachel Ahrnsen, an intern for the UA organization, said. “We come up with these ideas and if they’re good ideas, people will continue to show up year after year and they get really big.”

The festival ended up becoming so big it was no longer possible for the Creative Campus interns to put the festival together. Additionally, Ahrnsen, a junior majoring in journalism, said DCAF costs thousands of dollars each year.

Chase Sanders, a senior majoring in musical administration, had doubts the festival would be picked up by anyone in Tuscaloosa.

“Creative Campus decided that if it didn’t get taken on, we just weren’t going to do it this year,” Sanders said. “Then, out of the blue this summer, we got contacted from TTSC and they [reached] out to us and said they were interested in pursuing the festival.”

TTSC is responsible for attracting tourists and, in turn, bringing revenue to the city.

“We’re willing to let DCAF go,” Ahrnsen said. “And they are willing and enthusiastic to take it on.”

Tina Jones, director of corporate and group tourism for the TTSC, said the transition has gone “surprisingly smoothly” and has given the more creative members of TTSC an opportunity to work on something they love.

“DCAF gave me a way to connect with an organization that promotes art,” Jones said. “Which to me is highly important that art gets perpetuated throughout a person’s life.”

Jones, who also paints and draws in her free time, emphasized the vital role arts festivals play in artists’ careers.

“It gives emerging artists the ability to get exposure for their art and that’s what being an artist is about, to get exposure so you can bring your form of art to the world,” Jones said.

Jones said DCAF also has the potential to get tourists to visit the city for a long weekend, which will generate tax dollars and improve the community.

While DCAF is a festival celebrating the arts, it also gives back to the city of Tuscaloosa. This year, there will be a canned food drive benefiting Temporary Emergency Services of Tuscaloosa.

Beginning in March, members of the UA Panhellenic community can get points for every can donated. Members of the community also have the chance to donate cans the day of the festival. For every can donated, the person will receive a ticket for the door prize drawing.

But a large transition does not come without its trials.

“Obviously when you’re doing a festival this size with so many components, there’s probably 25 different teams tackling a different task,” Ahrnsen said. “So of course when there’s so much going on there’ll be setbacks here and there.”

Sanders said one of the biggest challenges for him was the new team Creative Campus assembles every year.

“A big struggle has been not only our team changing but having to transition into a new team with TTSC,” Sanders said. “It’s a trial, but it’s great to see how they’re doing things differently than we did. The gist of [DCAF] is the same, but it’s going to grow and develop even greater than we can imagine, which is fantastic for us.”

Sanders, who was one of two leaders coordinating the 2012 DCAF, said he has been more of a mentor for TTSC this year. He said Creative Campus was mainly handling artist and music submissions.

“Their expertise in this festival has been invaluable to us,” Jones said. “The bottom line is to continue to introduce the arts to the community and have a better community to live in.”

DCAF is not the first successful project Creative Campus has handed off. In 2012, the group gave control of Quidditch on the Quad to the Honors College.

Ahrnsen said she has been pleased with how TTSC has handled the transition of the festival.

“They really get what DCAF is supposed to be,” Ahrnsen said. “They get the spirit of the festival and they get the spirit of Creative Campus and what we’re trying to do by making Tuscaloosa a better place to live.”

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2013 a transition year for DCAF