In much the same way the digital landscape has changed drastically over the years, so too has the Red Stick International Festival since its beginnings in 2005 as the Red Stick Animation Festival.
Organizers expanded the festival in 2013 to reflect the growing and varied digital media landscape in Baton Rouge, welcoming video game designers, experimental electronic musicians, digital artists and more. And what started as a small festival centered on LSU’s campus has since grown to feature events at museums and libraries across the city.
“What’s been amazing about this process has been seeing how hungry Baton Rouge is for something like this,” says organizer Randy Dannenberg, assistant director of economic development at LSU’s Center for Computation & Technology. “This is something Baton Rouge has needed to showcase the strides we’ve made in the digital media world.”
On the roster this year is a video game summit featuring designers for some of the biggest games in the world as well as local game designers. The festival’s FutureFest will include work from LSU, Southern and BRCC students in digital art, video games and animation. Both events will take place at LSU’s Digital Media Center April 22.
On April 30, the East Baton Rouge Parish main library on Goodwood Boulevard will play host to a kids’ lab of interactive exhibits from the likes of the Knock Knock Museum and NASA, as well as a “Making Expo” of local creators in robotics, engineering, 3-D printing and more.
On May 1, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum will feature two performances in the planetarium of a live electronic music concert mixed with visual projections. The performances are in tandem with the museum’s own ongoing animation-related exhibits, “The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons” and “The Origins of Animation: A Hands-On Exhibit.”
Jesse Allison, a festival organizer and professor of experimental music and digital media, has played a big part in drumming up support for digital media in Baton Rouge. He helped introduce the FutureFest component in 2013 at LSU, showcasing digital media projects and research from across multiple departments at the university—from Music & Dramatic Arts to Engineering.
He says the event showed that every sector was finding ways to explore digital media.
“We ended up getting a lot more involvement, even from around the city,” Allison says. “This year, it’s becoming a much broader festival, and it’s encompassing so many exciting things now.”
Red Stick International Festival
April 22, April 30, and May 1
At LSU and multiple locations around the city. redstickfestival.org