Behind the Scenes of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival: Visual Design

Behind the Scenes of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival: Visual Design


My name is Christie Hawkins and I’m the
visuals designer and set production chief for the St. Olaf Christmas
Festival What I do is I take into consideration the theme of the concert I sort of abstract the concept a bit in my mind and think how can I uplift people
in a way that the music does as well This year I am a little more minimal
with the objects because I want to work so much more closely with the lighting
designer and especially because this year I am thinking so much about light
Karen Olson who is our lighting designer she is a wonderful person to
collaborate with and the more I’ve worked on this project I realized that collaboration is it’s like the energy behind it all I have about 10 student
workers as my job in the sculpture area they’re all real good with wood and
metal and and making things so I I love that part of it because I’m able to not
only get some help but they’re also they are art students, they’re creative,
they’re smart, they’re sometimes physics majors too so there’s this sort of
give-and-take that we have and I really find that a very creative part of my
process For 20 years before I became the
designer I attended the concert and at that point I was just amazed by the
artistry and the skill and the professionalism of of everybody involved Now the meaning of Christmas Festival is more a giant community
collaboration and an expression of what this college can be and can do but it’s
also an expression of how we can take a beautiful and strong tradition and
continue to grow it I choose to design sets and props that are not made of
styrofoam I’m trying so hard to avoid styrofoam and I’m finding that to be an
interesting challenge but I also find that it’s it’s a tiny you know it’s a
tiny drop in the bucket compared to what Hollywood uses but I don’t care I just want to be an example and I want to make a baby step One thing that I decided to tackle the
very first year I wanted to make changes that would be lasting also be acoustically improving I’ve learned a lot about what sound bounces off of and
what sound goes through to realize that I don’t want to hang something up as a
backdrop that would be dampening the acoustics So this year’s design there
will be a couple of changes that are new that I’ve made They might seem subtle
but they’re pretty exciting and another surprise is that this year we’ve added another department to be involved in Christmas Fest So you’ll see it see that
too…

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