Pucker Up: ArtSmooch Is Just Around The Corner

“Art is like the pulse and breath of life,” poet Madeline Sy SC ’18 said. “It’s not like it embodies life, but it’s also a reflection of how [the artists] live life.”

ArtSmooch, a multidisciplinary art showcase at the Claremont Colleges, will bring together the artwork of students such as Sy, faculty, and visiting artists (including two Pitzer College alumni) to Scripps College’s Garrison Theatre on Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. The event will display different art forms, from poetry and the visual arts to music and dancing.

Scripps Adjunct Professor in Music Rachel Vetter Huang was inspired by her son, Micah Huang PZ ’13, a composer, to coordinate the event.

A while back, Micah Huang expressed interest in collaborating with Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award Winner Angie Estes. Later on, he thought it would be a good idea to put together an event at Scripps that was as multidisciplinary as possible and involved students at the 5Cs.  

When asked about the name “ArtSmooch,” Rachel said: “We wanted something that was catchy and something that pulled on the idea of coming together.”

Rachel also wanted to emphasize her love for art, and since ArtSmooch was going to be held close to Valentine’s Day, the name stuck.

The collaborative nature of the showcase celebrates art by creating a unique “coming together” of all art forms.

“It’s something that should have been done before,” said student composer Zayn Singh SC ’20 who will be performing at ArtSmooch.

Singh is collaborating with Sy to create a poem, about falling in love and washing dishes, paired to jazzy music and dancing.  

“Small collaborations of music and dance can be seen around,” Singh said. “But there’s never been anything like a visual artist, a poet, a dancer, and a musician coming all together as one to create a full experience of something unique.”

Local artists are also involved. Sumi Foley is a fabric artist who uses tiny pieces of kimono silk in her work.

At ArtSmooch, Foley will be showing three of her fabric art pieces as backdrops on the stage of Garrison Theatre. She believes that combining different art forms “opens up another level of creativity.”

Scripps’ Associate Professor of English Warren Liu will be participating as a poet as part of the event’s faculty composition. Liu has previously collaborated with Harvey Mudd College Professor of Music Bill Alves in a similar event. The two are working together again for ArtSmooch.

“It was fascinating to see how Bill was able to produce this amazing musical composition built around one of my poems,” Liu said in an email to TSL. “I found the entire experience very rewarding. So when offered the opportunity to work with Bill (and others) again, I was happy to give it a shot.”

For poet Elena Dypiangco SC ’19, the event has helped her realize that she can always keep improving as an artist. She feels like she “can appreciate the work of others in a whole new light.”

Dypiangco said she had never envisioned that her work would be displayed in such a manner and can’t wait for the upcoming event.

Students and faculty members have been preparing the event since fall semester and are all incredibly excited.

Composer Kathryn Chan HM ’21 said, “It was exciting composing for [ArtSmooch]. By combining two art pieces you get a more full art experience, with emotions that we hope to convey as artists.”

Visiting poet Angie Estes agreed with Chan.

“This event is such a rare opportunity for the Claremont community to share,” Estes said. “The ArtSmooch performances should be incredibly dynamic and exciting.”

Singh believes that this event will inspire others to collaborate in the same way and hopes that events, such as ArtSmooch, will continue in the future. Sy encourages other student artists to participate in future events.

“It’s totally worth it, and it’s so doable,” Sy said.

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