Dance SamplerLeanne Ruiz, left, Christopher Salango, and Nimat Laila Shabazz rehearse for Sacramento Dance Sampler, part of Sac State’s Festival of the Arts. (Sacramento State/Craig Koscho)

Creativity blooms in colorful variety this spring during Sacramento State's annual Festival of the Arts (FoTA).

Presented by the College of Arts and Letters, FoTA is a campus-wide – and even off-campus – six-day celebration of arts and humanities. This year’s festival runs April 10-15 and encompasses about 30 music performances, stage plays, presentations, film screenings, discussions, dance concerts, and art exhibits. Many charge no admission.

“The Festival of the Arts is our way of celebrating all the offerings from the College of Arts and Letters, and to invite the community to join us in the celebration and creation of the arts now, and throughout the year,” says Dean Sheree Meyer.

The 2018 FoTA includes some returning favorites, such as the U-Create! downtown street fair running 5-9 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at 7th and S streets. The free event is co-hosted by Beatnik Studios, Insight Coffee Roasters, and Verge Center for the Arts, all of which will host exhibits and entertainment. An outdoor venue will feature live music and food trucks. Check out the U-Create video.

Dance Sampler brings together professional dance companies from throughout Northern California, presenting a buffet of dynamic individual dance pieces. This is the eighth annual presentation of a diverse sampling of contemporary dance. Performances are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 14-15, in Solano Hall 1010 Dancespace. Tickets are $12 general admission, available at the Hornet Ticket Office or at the door.

This year’s Arts History Talk spans the globe for a look at Mapping Art History, with John Lopez, UC Davis professor; Hillary Olcott, assistant curator of the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Jennifer Donnelly, Itinera Project manager, University of Pittsburgh. “Mapping” is the primary new method used to breach 19th- and 20th-century nation-state borders to track connections among world artists and cultures. The free program runs 1-5 p.m. Saturday, April 14, in Mendocino 1005.

Other FoTA attractions include:

  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. It’s the story of four young lovers and an acting troupe who enter an enchanted forest to attend a royal wedding. But the forest’s supernatural residents have their own plans for these people. Runs April 11-22 in the University Theatre. Here’s a sneak peek video.
  • The two-part Nammour symposium, The Moral & Social Implications of Our Bias for the Beautiful, delves deeply into conceptions of beauty, what contributes to these social standards, and their consequences for individuals who are deemed beautiful or ugly or deformed. Part I, is 9-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 10. Part II, will be presented 9 a.m.-noon, Wednesday, April 11. Both presentations are free and in the University Ballroom. 
  • Concurrent Conventions, a wide-ranging display of contemporary ceramic art, runs through May 18, in the University Library Gallery. Artists’ demonstrations will be in Kadema Hall 131, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. on April, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. April 12. “The State of Clay,” a panel discussion by some of the exhibiting artists, will be 3-5 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in the gallery. The exhibit and related events are free. Regular Library Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Check out our exhibit video. 
  • Sac State’s Jazz Ensemble was recognized in March as one of the three best college groups in the nation at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival. During the FoTA, the ensemble will welcome special guest Dave Douglas, a renowned jazz trumpeter and respected educator. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Friday, April 13, in the Capistrano Concert Hall. 
The fabulous Family Funday Sunday includes the Japan Day celebration in the Library Quad. (Sacramento State/Craig Koscho)
  • April 15, the Festival’s final day, sees the return of the popular Family Funday Sunday, a free, four-hour, offering of events, attractions, and hands-on projects. Children and adults can get make clay “pinch pots” in the Library breezeway; enjoy “Goldilocks and the Three Sharks,” a special presentation in the Studio Theatre by master puppet maker and puppeteer Art Grueneberger; stop by the Musical Petting Zoo; and participate in the Campus History Tour, the Japan Day Celebration, and the Spanish Club, all at the Library Quad. 
  • The Festival ends Sunday night with the spicy rhythms of the University’s Latin Jazz Ensemble at 7 in the Capistrano Concert Hall.

Get the complete FoTA lineup here. More information on the College of Arts & Letters can be found at its  website or by calling (916) 278-6502. For media assistance, call Sac State’s University Communications Office at (916) 278-6156. - Craig Koscho