ArtsFest ready to please audiences this weekend
Event mixes arts with environmental awareness
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.”