“Art Needs Walls”: Big-scale Youth Festival Held at SUSU

On August 31st, an “Art Needs Walls” modern culture festival was held at South Ural State University as part of the festivities dedicated to the Knowledge Day.

This festival represents a new-for-Chelyabinsk format, which aims at supporting the creative initiatives of students. The idea of holding this event was supported by the Department for Youth Affairs of the City of Chelyabinsk and the Chelyabinsk Region Ministry of Education, and was executed thanks to the SUSU Trade Union Committee.

Within the festival, graffiti was painted on Dormitory No.7, where the university’s Student Centre is located. SUSU Rector Aleksandr Shestakov visited the festival and added the final touch to the graffiti by leaving his signature.

“Today is a special day; we are opening new laboratories and looking at the results of their work. The new student art piece looks interesting and is pleasing to the eye. And, most importantly, it references the year of founding of our university. I think that the renovated wall of Dormitory No.7 will raise the spirits of all of our students and will become a great stimulus for students to study even better at South Ural State University. The dormitory certainly improved. Happy Knowledge Day!” said Aleksandr Shestakov, congratulating the participants of the festival.

The SUSU Student Centre was founded around a year ago. Today, it supports the creation of an atmosphere for meeting new people, joining forces, and working together in groups. Here, they can develop student self-government and fulfil creative projects through their own efforts. They independently create the schedule of their meetings and lessons. Vyacheslav Burmatov, Vice-Rector for Student Affairs, spoke about the updated student centre:

“We’re happy that SUSU students will now have a place of their own. The Student Centre has become a real point of attraction for all enthusiastic, active and creative individuals; and little time after creating this Centre, we came up with an idea of decorating its building’s facade. We wanted to make it a bit brighter, more distinctive and closer to all students. We’re grateful to Aleksandr Shestakov that he supported this initiative, as well as to the Administration of the City of Chelyabinsk, the university’s structural subdivisions, and the SUSU Trade Union Committee – thanks to the fact that we joined our efforts, we managed to do it all. We hope that this project will become an investment into our future, and that in this newly decorated place people will want to create in a new way as well.”

The idea to decorate the wall of the youth centre came up six months after it began operating. While the design of the Centre’s interior was finished long ago, the exterior of the building lacked paints. Through communication with various creative figures who are professionally engaged in street art and have experience in the design of such pieces, many various design projects were considered. From these, the final project was selected and was then approved by Aleksandr Shestakov.

Veronika Livonchik, Deputy Head of the Extracurricular Activities Department, spoke about preparations for the festival:

“Today is not just about graffiti or street art. This is a full-fledged event for students – a holiday for the final day of summer. At our festival, we wanted to show how we spend the summer together. The preparations for the festival were difficult. We tried to create a big event for the youth and take all details into account. I want to thank our partners and the students who were not indifferent and helped us in creating the festival on a totally voluntary basis.”

During the festival, guests were able to attend a special seminar on the history of street art and its impact on urban culture, and a lecture on contemporary art. At these events, students learned what has changed in the modern world after the digital revolution, gained an understanding of what happened in culture, and how these changes can be used in their future activities. As explained by the lecturers themselves, such events provide an opportunity for current and future students to be more involved and curious both in their studies and in their professional activities.

Arts and crafts workshops were held throughout the festival and were dedicated to three fields: fabric painting, creating postcards in embroidery style, and making felt bookmarks. In addition, a summer installation was created on the street, where everyone can leave a piece of themselves.

"With our master classes, we want to show people that everyone can be creative or draw, and that it's not difficult. In this way, we inspire students to develop their creative potential," shared Alisa Shefer, who taught a master class.

A festival of modern music was held on the walkway with the participation of beginner and professional DJs and musicians from Chelyabinsk.

"We like being at the festival, it's fun and interesting; we deliberately stood closer to the DJ to listen to the music. And also, all the students have gathered here. And we’re planning on attending the master class on postcards, too," said first-year students Antonina and Sonya.

In the specially-equipped areas for active and passive recreation, the organizers installed virtual reality zones, a food court, and a dance floor. The festival lasted more than 6 hours, after which the participants moved to the celebratory concert in front of the main building.

Elena Potoroko; photos by Viktoria Matveichuk, Oleg Igoshin
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