On September 7, 2019, the Tannery Arts Center will be the home of the first annual Circumference Festival & Conference. We caught up with Sandra Shamma, the driving force behind this exciting new gathering for local creatives, to learn more.

What is Circumference? How did this idea come about?

The Circumference Festival & Conference is a collaborative event for musicians, visual artists, and digital media creators. It’s a performance and showcase opportunity, a networking event, an avenue for exposure, and an all-around exciting festival. It’s happening September 7, 3-9pm at Tannery Arts Center.

The idea for the festival came about through awareness and observation of the amount of artists, musicians and creative doers of all kinds that are here in Santa Cruz. We noticed that there are events that encourage audiences to come out and experience art, but not as many that focus on bringing all of these artistic voices together – building the network and unifying our creative people, arts industries and arts agencies. The vision is to create one representational event and platform for all of those groups to come together. 

Why is Tannery Arts Center the perfect place for this event?

The Tannery has that element already, of unifying artists and arts groups and organizations. It made sense to bring us all here for a day, for an event with an eye toward building a future with a bigger and more monumental artistic community that is a real representational force. As it is already an artistic hub, it’s the perfect place to start creating a more cohesive element, and a stage for rising artists and musicians to network, collaborate and enhance the artistic community in Santa Cruz. 

What can attendees expect to experience here at the Tannery? 

The three main hubs of the Circumference are music, art and digital media. It will have a similar vibe to SXSW, with performances, art displays and a conference aspect all woven together throughout the campus.

We really wanted to focus on aspects that we saw didn’t have as much representation here. For example, we’re especially excited to provide a stage for musicians to give them real exposure and the experience of performing on a big stage with a great sound system and a large audience.

We also have a great lineup of talks and guest speakers discussing all sorts of topics around the arts, being an artist and social accessibility to the arts. One of these will be a panel discussion with artistic directors from different arts organizations like Jim Brown from Arts Council Santa Cruz County and Val Miranda from Santa Cruz Art League.

Many artist studios at the Tannery will be open for demos, workshops and displays. In addition to performances on the main stage, we’ll have food trucks, a beer garden and a gastropub-like experience at Bistro 112. There will even be a silent disco in one of the dance studios at Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center!

How are proceeds from the festival being put back into the arts community?

The whole idea of Circumference is bringing everything full circle, so it was really important to us to give back to the arts as well as connect artists with each other and give them opportunities to collaborate. A portion of ticket proceeds will be going to the Santa Cruz Alliance for Arts Education to support arts education in K-12 schools, with the remainder going to support the Tannery itself. 

We realized that this is a community event, and if the idea is to enhance the artistic frequency in the community then we need to look at the source of that artistic frequency and focus on securing that infrastructure. Looking back at it, that source is kids and youth art – how we’re providing exposure to the arts and creative platforms for them to be creative and expressive. If they don’t have that access, they’ll never develop into the creative adults that we are today creating all of this and making the festival itself possible. That’s the full circle “circumference” idea.

How can folks get involved?

Learn more about the festival on our website, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. You can already buy tickets via Eventbrite that get you access to everything (except the beer and food!). If you want to support us directly – while getting perks like tickets, stylish swag and more! – you can donate to our Indiegogo campaign. See you at Circumference!

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