The University Interfaith Council (UIC) and Cowell College are joining forces for the third year in a row to create an event for students to express themselves through art and music. The Spirituality and Faith art and music festival will be held on Oct. 12 in the Cowell Courtyard.

UIC is an organization that promotes understanding and peace between individuals with different beliefs, spiritualities and faiths. Students gather for educational programs and other events on and off campus.

Pamela Urfer, president of UIC, hopes the Spirituality and Faith art and music festival will help students feel comfortable expressing their own religious beliefs.

“I hope this encourages them to feel accepted and they don’t feel they have to hide it,” Urfer said.

She did not always feel students’ different religious beliefs were welcomed or celebrated while she studied for her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and masters degree at UC Santa Cruz.

“The professors tended to make fun of us or anybody who was believing in the supernatural,” Urfer said. “So I’m hoping this will turn things around a little bit.”

Judges will be at the festival to give prizes to three different pieces of art. Students who do not choose to display a piece of art that they already created can take part in the interactive art station held by the UIC volunteers. Students can come to these tables and create art that reflects their own spiritual journey, which then can be displayed on one of many large easels that will be set up. The festival will also have a spoken word contest with prizes.

The event was first created two years ago to get Cowell students interested in the possibility of themed housing under the heading of spirituality and faith. The event’s purpose is now different.

“It didn’t quite work out, but while we were promoting it we did this festival,” Urfer said.

One of the students who got involved last year to display their artistic interests is fourth-year Porter College student, Amanda Lee.

“I felt that I was being called to do art,” Lee said. “I had never done something like that so I wanted to try to see what it is like.”

Lee, part of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, became involved with the event last year by showing a piece that was based on worship and praise. She also volunteered by moving display panels around, hanging up artwork and monitoring the interactive art stations.

“The part I liked best was interacting with people who came by and trying to understand how they thought of faith and spirituality through painting,” Lee said. “It was really cool to see what people come up with.”

Fourth-year Kresge College student JC Sue played a song on the piano at the event and saw different religious groups at UCSC represented at the event.

“It was definitely a very informative event because even if you are involved in one of the groups there it’s nice to see a lot of the others that you really don’t know about,” Sue said.

Urfer was thankful to Cowell College for joining UIC in creating this annual event.

“We really appreciate Cowell’s involvement in this. They have been very supportive and helpful helping us get this off the ground.”


For more information on being a part of the art show, e-mail Pamela Urfer at