September 18, 2015

Bright green geometric shapes made out of plastic drinking straws juxtaposed against street medians. Groups of participants knitting in unison to create musical sounds. A live art installation consisting of an X-ray camper parked in a city lot.

These are just some of the sights that passers-by can expect to see on Magnolia Avenue between Anderson and Washington Streets from Thursday to Sunday.

The displays will be part of the Art in Odd Places festival, an artistic takeover in Downtown Orlando in which UCF art graduates will showcase their art through performing and visual exhibits.

Founder and director Ed Woodham is bringing the festival to Orlando for the first time after directing it in New York City for 10 years. The venue will be unexpected public spaces, and the purpose, said Woodham, is to reclaim the public space as a medium for communication.

UCF graduates Ashley Inguanta and Tara Young both have backgrounds in writing and communication. Inguanta was recently voted Best Poet in Orlando, and Young graduated from UCF with two degrees, one in communications and another in journalism.

But instead of showcasing their writing, their art installation at this year’s Orlando festival will encourage participants to look within themselves through their own words.

Masami Koshikawa, another UCF graduate who earned her MFA degree in studio art in May, will be pulling from her multicultural roots to showcase an interactive performance featuring origami art and herself as a canvas.

“Downtown is a place of great social importance where people work, play and socialize. I feel it is an honor to bring art and performance to the people so that it may be seen and enjoy unexpectedly,” Koshikawa said. “I can only hope this interactive exhibition will set a tone that evokes child-like wonder from the audience and viewers.”

Koshikawa’s street performance, titled Meditating Woman Series: Self-portrait as Golden Butterfly Woman, will involve asking audience members to apply golden origami butterflies to her white costume, turning her into a living statue.

She will be incorporating many different elements of Eastern culture into her showcase, including geisha make-up and hand-folded origami shapes sent directly from Japan from her mother, she said.

While Koshikawa said she experimented with many non-traditional media, such as video and performance art, during her MFA experience at UCF, she said she is looking forward to showcase her art in this type of venue.

Read the complete article from the Central Florida Future.

Image by MFA graduate Masami Koshikawa