Say Yes Fest
Say Yes Fest
What was Say Yes Fest?
Say Yes Fest was a conveyor of chances to say YES, including a diverse array of activism, art and drama events spanning multiple venues & locations. The vibrant programming orchestrated by multi-modal artist petals sandcastle included Silent Disco, drag shows, community painting and much more. This wide range of events promoted community engagement, curious thought, and ultimately spread love and joy throughout Main Street, Ann Arbor.
Say Yes Fest, as the name implies, was a festival inspiring people to say yes to things they typically might not say yes to. This good-natured provocation enabled guests to experience things out of their comfort zone, play with different art mediums, and learn about new, cutting-edge technology that’s being leveraged in the art scene.
CultureVerse worked with petals sandcastle on their exhibition which catalyzed Say Yes Fest. Say Yes Fest was founded by the Express Your Yes Foundation (https://expressyouryes.org). Additionally, we sponsored and assisted Say Yes Fest by providing technological and logistical support for their events.
Key components in Say Yes Fest
• Silent Disco
• Community Painting (physical and virtual)
• Drag Shows
• Community Games
• Art Exhibition
• Youth Mixer
• Script Reading
• Bully Anxiety Project
• Community DALL-E 2 Prompts
Silent Disco - in case you’re not familiar - is an event where everyone wears wireless headphones where you can select one of three channels. Multiple DJs broadcast to each channel on-site. This event dominated Main Street, Ann Arbor, enabling anyone to easily join the fun by grabbing a headset, and tuning into a channel that fits their groove. Join in and get funky!
CultureVerse Gallery flooded with a stunning medley of theater performances, empowering personalities and gorgeous outfits featuring drag queens from Chroma Productions. This inspiring art, music, and drag event was completely free and open to the public.
At the heart of Say Yes Fest was a desire to meaningfully engage the community. Providing an empty canvas that spanned the width of Main Street enabled any passerby to grab a paint brush and make their mark. The community painted over 1080 square feet of canvas!
In their artwork, petals creatively manipulates mental landscapes and experiments with the gamification of perception. One example is the community confession booth pictured below. Guests anonymously expressed their deepest secrets and feelings on post-it notes, or simply shared an inspirational quote for the next person to read. The ever-growing collection of notes represented the collective consciousness of the community, connecting us all that much more.
CultureVerse intersected art and technology through the creation of a fantastical VR realm for guests to explore. This environment was a collaboration with petals and bubbles sandcastle, resulting in stunning examples of interactive artistry including an enormous collaborative canvas (available at the bottom of this page), a wheel that spins the sky above you, and 3D artworks only possible in a digital space.
petals' gallery show expressed the incredible range of their artistic talents. Ranging from regular canvases to resin molded sculptures, CultureVerse Gallery was overflowing with petals art, providing an unforgettable journey of color and wonder for guests.
Catering to ages 13-18, the “Youth Mixer Moment” at the CultureVerse Gallery provided youth with outlets for activism, art, tech, political theater. Overall leveraging resources to megaphone the voices of our youth.
Director & Producer Christina Morales Hemenway performed a script reading of a feature film that’s going to be filmed in Ann Arbor. The script reading was a hybrid live experience with Christina physically in the gallery and the rest of the cast virtually tuned in.
Bully Anxiety Project
Artist Asha Jordan was part of the Say Yes Fest exhibit via a popup in the CultureVerse Gallery. The goal of this project was to support local artists, ease anxiety and to emphasize the importance of mental health. The event was comprised of community-led breath work, mantra meditation, and several live performances — all featuring black artists and healers taking over Main Street.
Community DALL-E 2 Prompts
DALL-E 2 is an app that allows you to generate any image you can imagine simply by describing it in text. It slowly rolled out to the general public in mid-2022 and we saw an opportunity to make advanced AI more accessible and encourage conversation about software-assisted creativity. At the opening of Say Yes Fest, using iPads we set up around the gallery, visitors created a wide range of generated art, from rabbits wearing VR goggles to exotic sci-fi landscapes. Check out the virtual gallery below highlighting some of those creations:
To see a full list of events and activities that were held during Say Yes Fest please visit https://expressyouryes.org/syf
About petals sandcastle
(THEY/THEM, SHE/HE, WE,IT)
“Under-developed and childlike — like Peter Pan became an adult but nobody told them yet”
petals is a multi-modal artiVist whose work and energies invite others into playful, radically inclusive discourse dedicated to exploring ways to create a society based on love rather than profit. Their work is improvisational and alive, designed to dislodge authentic, novel experiences amidst a world at siege. petals is intentionally cultivating conversations that push the audience to confront and overcome the barriers that lie between us.