Unconventional Art - Unconventional Spaces
In its sixth year of existence, the Oregon Fringe Festival (OFF) joins an international arts festival movement celebrating a 70-year history of creating space for unconventional artists and audiences.
Our mission is to cultivate community through the creative arts. By providing a platform for the free expression of self and speech, we work to create an inclusive and tolerant space for education and nourishing open perspectives.
Each year, we showcase several artistic mediums and disciplines: music, visual art, theatre and physical theatre, movement and dance, as well as creative writing and spoken word.
The work of our contributing artists is typically unconventional as are the spaces where we produce and showcase it for audiences.
The Oregon Fringe recently completed its fifth annual festival in April 2018!
Over the course of five days, the OFF team collaborated with 36 individual artists and groups to produce 50 staged events–concerts, readings, and panel discussions–in thirteen venues, as well as eleven exhibitions and installations in eight galleries in and around the Southern Oregon University campus and greater Ashland community. The venues were somewhat small, and the range of disciplines was varied: musicians to poets, mimes to painters, clowns to videographers, dancers to improv comics, ad infinitum.
The level of the artists varied as well from professionals at the top of their craft, like Grammy Award-winning headliners, to students writing, casting, and executing original plays and one-person shows.
In 2014, the OFF featured beat-boxing juggler Bronkar as the headliner, alongside performances by student musicians and theater majors. For 2015 the OFF went “Underground” with its theme, featuring Portland-based clown Jacob Mooney.
The 2015 festival saw performances taking place across the SOU campus and city of Ashland: an unannounced midday percussion performance in Lithia Park was well received, and an interpretation of “Metamorphosis” was performed at Emigrant Lake, utilizing the lake as a part of the stage. OFF ‘15 also featured more visual art, including interactive sculpture and an “Art Fair” where SOU art students set up a pop-up gallery outside of the Schneider Museum of Art.
The 2016 OFF centered around the SOU campus theme of “The New New,” with a mission of “Exploring new realities through artistic experiences.” This iteration of the festival featured original works of art, music, theatre, and movement with main events included a silent flash-mob, singing crystal bowls, a rap show garage sale, two blocks of theatre performances, installation art, and more.
In 2017, the OFF aligned with the campus theme "Shapes of Curiosity". This most recent festival excitedly hosted the renowned composer Mark Applebaum, Ph.D. (Edith & Leland Smith Professor of Composition at Stanford University) and James Del Prince (educator, floral designer, speaker, and author). With a group of local musicians, a dynamic composition of sound and percussion written by Applebaum was performed while DelPrince arranged floral compositions throughout the stage, responding to the piece as it progressed. The 2017 festival also provided opportunity for SOU students across majors to collaborate together creating a completely original and emotional interdisciplinary stage performance titled Monsters. This production was directed by James Donlon, renowned movement and acting educator and former SOU professor. In addition to the headlining acts, a myriad of student-directed works were performed in multiple unconventional locations at SOU bringing the art to the audience! Five unique art exhibitions were displayed in the Center for the Visual Arts Galleries (feat. 30 years of theater mask-making, Ka'ila Farrell-Smith (Klamath-Modoc visual artist), student artists, and more) as well as art installations across campus.