TEDxSanLuisObispo hosted student and community showcases during intermission. Emily Merten | Mustang News

San Luis Obispo held its second TEDx conference in the Performing Arts Center Oct. 27. In addition to its well-known inspirational talks, the event featured an array of student work, from paintings to
business startups.

Formerly TEDxCalPoly, the conference was rebranded to TEDxSanLuisObispo to expand its reach and impact on San Luis Obispo as a whole.

Students and community members, including artists, companies and nonprofits, were invited to set up booths on the second floor of the Performing Arts Center to showcase their ideas.

“TED actually stands for technology, entertainment and design. Bringing in the design part of it is a big part of it,” Executive Director and recreation, parks and tourism administration senior Ashley White said. “TEDxSanLuisObispo’s mission is to bring the San Luis Obispo community together, and I think that happens from a lot more viewpoints and vantage points than just speech.”

A student art showcase was included in this year’s event. It was curated through submissions from students and professors. TEDx accepted every piece that was entered. Mediums ranged from sculptures to paintings to dance performances.

The showcases were displayed at intermission for guests to peruse. Guests also had the opportunity to speak to the artists and entrepreneurs.

While TEDxSanLuisObispo’s theme was “Climbing new peaks,” works submitted were not limited to the theme.  White said she believes the TEDx student and community showcases gave the community an opportunity to continue working hard to climb their own peaks.

“For students and community showcases, a lot of the people setting up booths are entrepreneurs or aspiring artists,” White said. “These people are climbing their own peaks in a sense. They’re trying to achieve their goals and get their ideas out there.”

Student Showcase Director and city and regional planning junior Erina Shimanuki wanted to broaden the range of pieces showcased at intermission.

“My goal this year was to expand the student art showcase a little more and put more focus on the showcases,” Shimanuki said.

The student art showcase tripled in size, and the variety of the pieces expanded as well. Landscape architecture junior Nicholas Matson submitted a chair to the showcase, a new medium for him as an artist.

Matson’s artwork allowed him to fulfill TEDx’s slogan, “spreading ideas worth sharing.”

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve used art to express my ideas. I would always have ideas, and the only way I could really vividly show them was through art,” Matson said.

While TED is mostly known for its speakers, it now expands beyond the talks, encompassing more ideas relating to technology, entertainment and design. The student and community showcases allowed TEDxSanLuisObispo to incorporate every aspect of TED into the conference.

Liberal arts and engineering studies junior Gabriella Santiago said she believes her art is a different way to spread ideas.

“[Art] can tell a story for sure, and I think TED is a lot of storytelling. So, through art, it’s an indirect way of telling a story,” Santiago said.

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