Organizers had hoped for 75 people to attend last weekend’s Children’s Art Party — the kick-off event for the 2013 Newtown Arts Festival — and they were not disappointed. Arts Festival Chair Terry Sagedy said on September 15 that all of the available spots for the event had been filled. It was a very good start for the volunteers who have been working to create a series of events that will interest people of most ages and interests.
Held on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the courtyard behind NYA Sports & Fitness Center at Fairfield Hills, children, teens and adults were treated to three hours of free events that offered a hint of what would be coming during the next week. Newtown Arts Festival events continued on Monday and Tuesday, September 16 and 17, with a play reading and film screening (the film screening, Mr Sagedy mentioned Wednesday morning, drew a crowd of more than 160 people).
A pair of concerts are scheduled to continue the week on Wednesday and Thursday, and then the inaugural Rooster Ball will be held at the fields at Fairfield Hills on the evening of Friday, September 20.
Two days of all things art-related will be offered on Saturday and Sunday at Fairfield Hills. The two-day festival will feature more than 80 artists offering paintings, jewelry, woodwork, glasswork, sculpture, and more; two days of performances of music in myriad genres; dance recitals and demonstrations, literary presentations and discussions, and arts and crafts for all ages.
Newtown International Center for Education (NICE) will return with programs on various cultures and languages. The Cosmic Knittas plan to “yarn bomb” the festival, Flagpole Photographers Camera Club will have an installation in Newtown Municipal Center, members of Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue will host the second annual coloring contest on Saturday, and then members of Newtown’s CERT team will host the coloring contest on Sunday.
Surprise street performances and activities will also take place during the two days. More than a dozen food vendors will provide refreshments all weekend.
In addition, arts festival organizers announced this week that Nelson Joyce of Swan Song Guitars in Arizona will be presenting a custom handmade bass guitar to Newtown Cultural Arts Commission and HealingNewtown on Saturday afternoon. The presentation will be in the music tent at 4 pm.
Originally from Weymouth and Nantucket, Mass., Mr Joyce reportedly put aside paying guitar commissions to create the instrument he will contribute, which is valued at $4,000.
Saying he created the guitar to show that the entertainment industry has to continue to create its own audience, he believes “We have lost our way,” he says, when it comes to the creative arts. “The deterioration of caring about the arts is catastrophic.”
A graduate of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, which teaches guitar making and repair, Mr Joyce went to Arizona to attend the school, fell in love with the area, and settled there. He calls the six months he attended the school as the “happiest time of his life,” and quickly added that his marriage and raising his children are equally happy.
John Stanton of Shouldered Oar Films will accompany Mr Joyce to document the presentation.
Admission to the festival is $5 per person, with proceeds to benefit event organizer Newtown Cultural Arts Commission.
Children’s Art Party
Before all that reaches Fairfield Hills, however, children of all ages enjoyed last weekend’s art party at NYA. In a grassy area, guests were invited to kneel and add color to any of six cardboard houses that had been set up. Boxes of crayons were handed out to those arriving at the party. Guests had their choice of coloring the houses or visiting a nearby table, where more crayons, along with markers and colored pencils, had all been laid out so that attendees could create artwork. Artwork left behind, children were told, will be used in a coloring contest tent that will be set up at next weekend’s festival.
Another table had youngsters creating beaded necklaces. Across the courtyard, members of the NHS Color Guard team had set up a table where young artists were invited to decorate small pumpkins.
My Circles of Love offered drumming and hula hooping, which was a popular attraction for all ages. Members of Newtown Juggling & Circus Arts Club were also part of the event.
Live entertainment was also offered on Sunday. First up was Magic Al Garber, who had his audience alternately giggling and then surprised with his sleight of hand trickery. Mr Garber was followed by My Dad’s Truck, who performed a set of folk and popular music that brought a few people to the center of the courtyard for some dancing before the afternoon was finished.
Specific dates and times for all musical acts, performances and demonstrations for the festival weekend are available online at NewtownArtsFestival.com.