Art­sFest ready to please au­di­ences this week­end

Event mixes arts with en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness

Maryland Independent - - News - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: Tif­fIndyNews

La Plata Town Hall will be jam packed this week­end with ven­dors, new ex­hibits and dis­plays for the 2016 Art­sFest.

Ac­cord­ing to the Charles County Arts Al­liance, Art­sFest is one of the largest, free arts fes­ti­vals in South­ern Mary­land, and will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Satur­day, June 11. The event is hosted by the arts al­liance and typ­i­cally has more than 2,000 peo­ple in at­ten­dance. This week­end will mark the 24th year that the Charles County Arts Al­liance has hosted the event and the arts or­ga­ni­za­tion en­joys pro­mot­ing and bring­ing to­gether all of the arts for one big event.

“It is a free venue for ev­ery­one to take in the vis­ual arts that is avail­able in the South­ern Mary­land area,” said Robert Rausch, pres­i­dent of the Charles County Arts Al­liance. “This year one of the new things is Bar­rels By The Bay, a com­mu­nity en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness group, con­duct­ing a work­shop where you paint your own rain bar­rel, take it home with you, and if you let the county gov­ern­ment know that you have a wa­ter bar­rel then you can deduct the rain tax from your real es­tate tax.”

All sup­plies for the Bar­rels By The Bay work­shop at Art­sFest are pro­vided by the Po­tomac Project.

“The en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tors with Bar­rels By The Bay are do­ing the work­shop as a co­op­er­a­tive project with the Coca Cola Com­pany, so they are let­ting par­tic­i­pants dec­o­rate 52 light drum plas­tic bar­rels at Art­sFest,” said Diane Rausch, Charles County Arts Al­liance board mem­ber and wife of Robert. “Bar­rels By The Bay ed­u­ca­tors are teach­ing the youth and their fam­i­lies about how we can all be great stew­ards of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and be in­spired and learn more about what we can do to make the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay a health­ier wa­ter­shed re­gion.”

The arts fes­ti­val has more than 50 ven­dors reg­is­tered, dis­play­ing a wide va­ri­ety of orig­i­nal, hand-made art, lit­er­a­ture, carv­ings and sculp­tures. A wide ar­ray of food ven­dors will be on hand with an as­sort­ment of of­fer­ings to sat­isfy every palate. There will also be dance, com­mu­nity ser­vice and con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions in at­ten­dance pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tional in­for­ma­tion. This year there is also a “Kids Art Tent” that will keep the younger ones busy cre­at­ing their own works of art.

Lo­rina Har­ris, Charles County Arts Al­liance board mem­ber, is run­ning the Kids Art Tent and said she is promis­ing tons of art and fun for the chil­dren.

“It will be set up from one ta­ble to the next with the chil­dren draw­ing, sketch­ing and hav­ing pos­i­tive fun,” Har­ris said. “When­ever peo­ple are around art their in­tel­li­gence is in­creased, their cu­rios­ity is widened and there are so many good things that can hap­pen in re­la­tion to art.”

Vis­i­tors can also ex­pect con­tin­u­ous mu­si­cal per­for­mances on both stages of the town hall. Mu­si­cal groups will be per­form­ing blue­grass, jazz, bar­ber­shop, cho­ral, folk, pop­u­lar and clas­sic se­lec­tions.

“Each year we try to have some­thing new and dif­fer­ent to spice up Art­sFest,” Robert Rausch said. “Plus it’s a re­ally good op­por­tu­nity for vis­ual artists to dis­play and sell their own art.”

Thou­sands of vis­i­tors will be able to see a vis­ual per­for­mance from the two “Time Trav­el­ers,” meet “Lord Bal­ti­more,” the Al­liance’s carousel horse carved by the South­ern Mary­land Carousel Group, meet the Korean Amer­i­can Cul­tural Arts Foun­da­tion which is fea­tur­ing the art of flower mak­ing with the Ven­er­a­ble Suky­ong, a Bud­dhist monk skilled in con­struct­ing life­like ji­hwa flow­ers made from hanji (Korean mul­berry) pa­per, and help raise funds by en­ter­ing the Fish­ing for (schol­ar­ship) Funds con­test.

“I look for­ward to the artists be­ing happy, the guests be­ing happy and the per­form­ers be­ing glad to play for the au­di­ence,” Rausch said. “The event is there to serve the cit­i­zens in Charles County with the spir­i­tual and in­no­va­tive side as well, be­cause the arts is a qual­ity of life that you need.”

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