Art and technology will converge Friday and Saturday at the Redmond Digital Arts Festival, a free two-day event featuring speakers and workshops dedicated to art forms like animation, film-making, music and gaming.
This year marks the third festival since the inaugural event took place in 2008. Kamal Siegel, owner of motion capture company Digital Double, first pitched the event when he was arts commissioner for the City of Redmond in 2008. Now, the goal is much the same as it was then — promoting growth and raising awareness about the digital arts.
“(We want) to use the festival as sort of a way of bringing people’s attention that Redmond is the place to be if you want to be a digital artist,” Siegel said. “(We’re) bringing attention to the plethora of surrounding companies that foster the digital arts.”
But even though Redmond’s reputation as a city on the forefront of technology is well established, Siegel has always wanted to make sure the festival didn’t become just another tech conference, he said.
“It’s not about technology; it’s about the art first and foremost,” he said. “If we do feature technology, it’s only to the extent that it powers that creative impulse.”
The festival includes a series of speakers, with topics ranging from digital illustration to storytelling in video games, hands-on workshops that are open to anyone 15 and older, and several interactive exhibits, including motion capture and digital graffiti.
Events fall on many levels of the learning curve, and the festival was designed to appeal to people across the age and experience spectrum, said Tarsi Hall, communications manager for , which is hosting both days of the festival.
“We really tried to make the programming this year accessible to all ages and experience levels,” she said. “You really could be a professional at Microsoft, or you could be a novice walking into the festival going, ‘I have no clue what digital arts is, but I’m really curious,’ and have a good time either way.”
The digital graffiti exhibit is a good example of that, Hall said. The interactive experience allows people to create digital markings on a 14-foot screen using glow sticks.
“Both (Kamal) and I would love to do digital graffiti — I’m a total novice and he’s a professional — (but) he and I could both share in that experience and have a great time doing it,” she said.
The City of Redmond continues to help organize the event, and the city’s events and marketing administrator Lisa Rhodes said the Digital Arts Festival complements more traditional events well.
“People are still learning about digital arts (in) the general public,” she said. “It’s nice to work on something that’s a new trend and people are still learning about and excited about.”
The festival will also feature an art competition, with cash prizes awarded by a panel of jurors to stills and videos submitted ahead of time, and a screening of animation shorts from January’s 2D or not 2D Film Festival in Seattle.
All events will take place Friday and Saturday at the DigiPen campus, 9931 Willows Road NE. For a full schedule of events, visit the festival’s website.
Editor's note: This is a more detailed preview of the Redmond Digital Arts Festival. It first appeared on Redmond Patch. A shorter article about the festival was posted on Sammamish Patch a few days ago.