Folks flock to Fringe fest

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A. Sue Weisler

Spirits Within, a collaboration featuring projections by RIT professor Marla Schweppe’s 3-D Digital Design students, was performed during Rochester’s first Fringe Festival.

RIT students and faculty had a chance to show their right-brain proclivities at the inaugural First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival Sept. 19-23.

More than 2,000 people attended more than 20 performances presented by members of the RIT community at several venues in downtown Rochester. The five-day festival drew an estimated 33,000 people.

“It was a great opportunity for the students to present in front of a live audience and collaborate with other artists,” says Marla Schweppe, professor, computer graphics design. Schweppe and her students worked with Eastman School of Music professor Stephen Kennedy and dancers from FuturPointe Dance Company to present Spirits Within. “Fringe Festival allowed RIT to integrate more into the local arts community, which was valuable.”

RIT’s contributions to the festival included theater, film, music, art, multidisciplinary projects and a fashion show of wearable technology. NTID students and alumni performed AstroDance, a series of pieces related to astrophysics choreographed by Thomas Warfield, director of the NTID Dance Ensemble. The collaboration between NTID, College of Science and B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences was funded with a grant from the National Science Foundation.

“RIT is renowned for intertwining the arts with technology and innovation,” says Meredith Smith, associate vice president for government and community relations. “Fringe Festival was a tremendous opportunity for the community to see many facets of the university.”