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The Indiana Daily Student

arts community events

Festival of Creativity submissions for IU students ends Oct. 20

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The Molly Parsley Festival of Creativity, started this year by IU student Molly Sawyer, will close acceptance of student submissions Oct. 20.  

A student panel of judges will accept art from the IU student body including films, drawings, poetry and more. The judges will award cash prizes for first, second and third place, which will be announced on Nov. 13. 

Sawyer, a senior studying media advertising at IU, received the Molly Parsley scholarship over the summer and was moved by Parsley’s story. Sawyer is also a part of the Media Scholars program, where seniors have to put together a capstone project reflecting on their academic experiences. For hers, she decided to put the Festival of Creativity together in hopes of celebrating student expression, combining it with her mission to share Parsley’s story.  

The scholarship was started in memory of Molly Parsley, a ‘96 IU grad, by her father, William Parsley.  

Sawyer said that Molly Parsley passed away in 2022 when she was in her mid-40s. It was a sudden and unexpected death caused by a sleeping pill laced with fentanyl. A Facebook page was started in her memory by Kendall Rockwell. Sawyer said that she’s close with the Parsley family –– she will sometimes go out for lunch in the Bloomington area when they come to IU’s campus.  

After reading about the impact Parsley had on her community and getting to know her family better, Sawyer was moved. She felt a need to give something to the IU community and create a space where people feel welcome to share their art, something she feels Parsley would have done. 

“I felt like we’d be great friends and I wish I had the opportunity to meet her,” she said.  

Jay Kincaid, Director of Facilities and Technology in the Media School and Sawyer’s mentor, commented on how amazed he is of Sawyer’s hard work. Normally, for the senior capstone projects, someone will write a 30 page paper or put together a group presentation. However, with Sawyer, the integrity and grit in getting this event off the ground stands out.  

“She wants this to succeed,” he said. “She wants us to do something special that can possibly continue every year, so she’s worked really, really hard.”  

The judging panel will consist of three IU student judges, one of whom is Cora Shaw, a sophomore majoring in media advertising. Shaw is also a part of the Media Scholars Program and received an email about the event asking if she’d be willing to judge.  

She is excited to see all of the submitted artworks because she sees this festival as being a good opportunity for the IU student body to come together and share their art.  

“We get so caught up in our own classes and projects that we don’t often see other people's projects,” she said.  

Shaw also said that some of the artwork already submitted are things she hadn’t thought about doing creatively. With all of the students sharing their art, she said she’s inspired to try new artistic styles herself.  

Overall, Shaw said she looks forward to seeing the IU community honor an alumna with this festival and to see all of the different artworks within the student body.  

“It benefits IU as a whole being able to do something for an IU (alumna) that passed away but it’ll also honor new creativity and this generation’s creative projects.” she said. 

Sawyer had brainstormed an event like this all summer and said she hopes it is able to carry on Molly Parsley's legacy for years to come.  

Submissions for art work close Oct. 20 and awards will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 13 in Franklin Hall Commons. The QR code for submissions can be seen on flyers circulating IU’s campus or on the TVs in Franklin Hall Commons. If there are any questions concerning the event and submissions, contact Molly Sawyer at mollsawy@iu.edu.  

Students can submit here. 

This article has been corrected to accurately represent Parsley’s age and name the correct individual who started a Facebook page in her memory.

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