Whole Earth Festival attendees encouraged to expand their minds

The annual Whole Earth Festival is upon us. Another Spring Quarter weekend event where there is so much to do in Davis that one could wander for hours and not see it all.
But there’s so much more than what meets the eye when casually walking through the Quad, so much more than endless aisles of vendors selling crafts and delicious food. Via workshops and demonstrations run by peers and special guests, festival attendees can learn about things that resonate with the overarching emphasis of the festival: sustainability, creativity and spiritual wellness. Here’s a rundown on what can be learned and experienced at a handful of the sites this weekend.

Experiential Space
According to the directors, the Experiential Space welcomes everybody to learn, inspire and integrate fresh ideas into their lives. On the schedule for this area are events such as yoga workshops, a session on how to discover “supernatural love and ecstatic bliss,” composting demonstrations and ideas on how to incorporate more vegetarian meals into a regular diet.
“There’s a professor, Kathryn Dillard, running a poetry workshop on Friday at 4 p.m., where people can write something they’ll be able to take home,” said Joy Wei, junior international relations and statistics major. “A girl named Cassie will be talking about different types of herbs on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. We have all types of people speaking; anyone with experience in holding a workshop can do one. We do have some students putting on workshops.”

Through a series of short workshops and lectures running from a half hour to an hour and a half, Whole Earthers can raise their awareness in the areas of well-being, social justice and environment.

“There will be one person there to help people who were abused and show how they can grow from it,” Wei said. “We’ll have dance instructors, anyone who just wants to share knowledge. I’m really excited for the hula hoop space.”

Participatory Art Space
This space will provide the opportunities for people to learn and engage with each other through hands-on exhibits and activities. One such activity will be a scavenger hunt with the aim of collecting intuitive answers rather than items.

“People are going to be asking questions, meaningful questions,” said Andre Almeida, a student at the Da Vinci Charter Academy in Davis. “The idea is to get them to interact with random people, which is something people aren’t used to, but this’ll get them to open up.”
The goal is to collect enough responses to bring them together at the end in a visually comprehensive way that can be shared with those who did not participate.
“We want to be able to write something about it afterwards, or make a collage of them,” Almeida said.
An example of a hands-on exhibit that will be in the Participatory Art Space is a bike with a special type of rear wheel, designed and built by Almeida himself with the help of his father.
“The back wheel has mirrors in the place of spokes,” he said. “When you spin it one way you’ll see the face of the person standing on the other side upside down, and when you spin it the other way you’ll see a blend of the two faces.”
On Friday and Saturday, artist Danny Shieble will be coming to instruct festival-goers on the techniques of Tapagami, a method of origami that uses tape instead of paper.

“I’m looking forward to it mostly just because I know how amazing the artist is, and I can’t wait to bring his work to everyone,” said Art Space director Chloe Jones. “It’ll be really exciting because it allows us to use everyday materials and see them in a different light by making them into artwork.”

Sacred Space
The most spiritual of all of the Whole Earth locales, Sacred Space, is a place the directors say is a place for spontaneous conversation, sharing energy and honoring Mother Earth. Located in Young Hall, the events are catered to be shared with more people and run for a longer amount of time.

“It’ll be more of a lecture format, and the workshops will take place for two hours or longer,” Wei said. “Learning is a big part of this part of Whole Earth — people who come definitely come to learn.”

The day starts with yoga sessions that run for an hour every morning during the festival starting at 10 a.m., and finishes with acoustic jam sessions every night. Other events include body painting on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., a medicinal herb workshop on Saturday from 3 to 4 p.m. and a raw chocolate workshop on Sunday from 11 a.m. to noon.

View the complete Whole Earth Festival program at wef.ucdavis.edu/?p=463.

LANI CHAN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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