Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach welcomes new curator, John Colette

Special to Gannett
The 15th annual Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach festival, underwritten by The Alys Foundation, will be held May 13-14, 2022.

ALYS BEACH — Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach has announced the appointment of John Colette as the festival’s new curator.

Colette, who is also a professor of motion media design at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), has participated in the festival since 2014 both as an artist and as the conduit for the SCAD student exhibitions, notably those projected onto the iconic buttery buildings flanking the east and west entrances to Alys Beach along 30A.

Celebrating its 15th year in 2022, Digital Graffiti is delighted for Colette to step into the larger role of curator, bringing his history with the festival, his expertise in the creation of large-scale public art and motion media design, and his experience as a teacher, helping students explore the relationships between art, audience, and (especially public) space.

Colette takes the reigns from his award-winning and highly regarded predecessor and colleague, Brett Phares, who curated the festival for 14 years from inception, a contemporary with whom Colette has long worked.

He credits Phares with establishing a unique way of integrating these interactive, digital media arts into the environment of Alys Beach, bringing the festival into its current place of renown. Colette views the festival as an opportunity for the audience to engage with art outside of the traditional gallery space in a presentation that “makes the art much more of a living experience,” allowing the audience to “get deeper into the work” outside of the confines structured by “what we think we should do in that (gallery) environment.”

His hope is that the festival offers the audience a “cue for the imagination,” an opportunity to step into a living, breathing town and allow the interaction between the art and the environment, and the impact of the audience’s own input and physical influence on the art projections, to change their overall perspective; to change the way they see the world.  

To Colette’s mind, Digital Graffiti is a dynamic platform for art to reach people, an abundantly open experience with unlimited opportunities for perceiving art in a conjoining of ideas, creation, space, technology. Colette looks forward to seeing Digital Graffiti into its 15th year, his occupational passion for education driving a look into more exposure for students to experience the festival firsthand, to experience the real-life application of motion media and digital arts with powerful artists from around the world, and ultimately to continue to propel the festival forward with innovation and artistic vision.