Framingham State’s first Campus Creative event poorly attended

Local band Sweet Relief comes to play at Campus Creative. (Bailey Morrison / THE GATEPOST)

The college of arts and humanities’ Campus Creative event, held on Sunday, Oct. 21, suffered from a lack of attendance, according to multiple participants.

The inaugural event, which was meant to highlight creative output and activities in the arts and humanities, was underpromoted and had almost no foot traffic, according to participants interviewed by The Gatepost.

Student organizations, academic departments, and nonprofits were invited to staff tables at the event and provide outreach through educational and interactive activities. These included woodcut printmaking, graphic design games, Chinese calligraphy writing, and portrait photography.

Senior Gabrielle Raposo, who staffed the graphic design games table, said, “We created some games in one of our classes for the moon landing events that are happening. I feel like it’s very important for people to be aware that this is happening and there are so many different directions you can go with it.”

Sydney Buono, a senior communication arts major who staffed the portrait photography table, said, “[We] give people a chance to interact and see what they can do digitally, because it’s very up and coming.

“We have iPads for kids where they can do stuff to photos, draw on it, or make it look like a sketch. … We also have flip books for old-fashioned animation.”

Kristen Abbott Bennett, an English professor, staffed a table where there was an interactive exercise where participants read from and transcribed from Katherine Bacon’s “Reciept Book” – Recipe Book in Old English – using period quills and iron gall ink.

Other events included various musical performances, student and faculty readings, and a show by the FSU Dance Team.

Although a number of preliminary promotional steps were taken – such as postings on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and a press release to The MetroWest Daily News – there were very few people in attendance.

Editor-in-Chief of The Gatepost Bailey Morrison, who staffed The Gatepost’s table at the event, said, “I think that in theory it is a great idea to have an event like Science on State Street for the humanities. However, I wish there had been more advertisement and planning.

“I didn’t really get any heads up about this. It would have just been nice to have the opportunity to really set something up, and for other clubs, too,” said Morrison.

Director of Communications Dan Magazu said there were some areas that were neglected in terms of marketing for the event.

“Frankly, it should have been advertised in The Gatepost,” said Magazu. “Usually, what event organizers do is they will run their poster as an ad in The Gatepost, which is something we recommend. That didn’t happen here.”

Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities Marc Cote said the marketing budget for the event was $200. This amount came from his dean’s budget and was used for paying the illustrators of the poster made for the event.

“I don’t believe anything else was spent on marketing,” said Cote.

Magazu said, “I wasn’t aware of a budget for this event for marketing. We weren’t really involved in that part of it.”

Andrew Willoughby, arts and features editor of The Gatepost and a senior English major, who also staffed The Gatepost’s table at the event, said, “All of the departments that are here have really interesting things to say.

“It just kind of stinks that this was thrown together so quickly. Even though everybody here is really interesting, I feel like it kind of is a wasted opportunity,” he added.

Cote said, “We ran the event this one time and obviously, the attendance was an issue, and so I am anxious to get recommendations moving forward.”

Cote said walk-by traffic was problematic and that “on-campus signage was lacking.

“I think internally, we didn’t get the crowds we were hoping for,” added Cote.

Magazu said, “One thing we look for organizers to do is submit to community posters and calendars, engage with The Gatepost, and promote the event via word of mouth.”

He added, “When you have a new event like this that’s never happened before, audience building is extremely important, and a lot of that happens through word of mouth.

“I think in this instance – and I’ll take some of the blame for this – there wasn’t clarity on what was expected of the organizers versus what was expected of my office,” said Magazu.

Cote said he was “not aware” of any initiative to promote the event by word of mouth in classrooms. He added he has already set up a meeting with Magazu and Director of Marketing Averil Capers to discuss these expectations.

“Lessons learned,” said Capers.

Cote added, “We learned a lot. We will work out as many of the kinks as we can for the next event, and I certainly do want to be proactive about that – talking with faculty, students, and with people who did come.

“I would definitely like to get more high school students,” he said.

For the future of Campus Creative, Magazu said “earlier and more direct community outreach and more visibility on campus” would be important steps.

“It’s disappointing that this is a drawback from what was such a great event. It was a great idea and there was so much great stuff going on, so we’re bummed that the audience wasn’t there, but I don’t think it’s any reason not to try again next year,” said Magazu.

English Department Chair Desmond McCarthy said, “I commend Dean Cote for conceiving of this vibrant and much-needed event to raise the profile of arts and humanities at Framingham State, and my many colleagues from different departments for their innovative displays and compelling performances – but it’s like we threw a party and no one came.”

Junior Madison Bruno said, “If I hadn’t texted somebody, I’m not sure if I would have known, which is a little unfortunate.”

Buono said, “There weren’t that many people here. I think it’s important that it’s advertised better, because I don’t think a lot of students here knew about it.”

[Editor’s Note: Bailey Morrison and Andrew Willoughby are editorial board members of The Gatepost. Desmond McCarthy is its advisor.]

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