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Kids at Play

The First Children's Arts Festival

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Come play with us! ¡Vengan a jugar con nosotros!” This is the fun and engaging theme of the Wood River Arts Alliance’s (WRAA) first-ever Children’s Arts Festival, which will be held January 25-26, 2008, at the Community Campus in Hailey.

Participants in the Children’s Arts Festival will have the opportunity to indulge their creativity by exploring a wide variety of artistic mediums, from painting and pottery to theater and dance. Hilarie Neely, vice-president of the WRAA, explains that most of the classrooms at the campus will be used for the festival so there can be many workshops to highlight numerous forms of art. Neely, who is also director of the Footlight Dance Centre, says there are “plans to have the Junior/Senior Company dancers perform repertory pieces from their educational school tour.

They will offer classes in creative movement and traditional folk dances from around the world.” Kim Gasenica, director of education for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s School of Music, hopes to have her students perform at the festival. She also intends to set up what she refers to as an “instrument petting zoo,” in which kids can play with various musical instruments. This has been a popular attraction at the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Family Festival.

The aim of the Children’s Arts Festival is for children to have fun while learning about art and exploring their own artistic tendencies. Through a mix of performances and hands-on activities, children will learn that they, too, can enjoy participating in art both as creators and patrons. “This festival will help kids realize that music and art are cool!” says Gasenica. It is the hope of the WRAA that this festival will instill a lifelong appreciation for the arts in the attendees. Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he [or she] grows up.”

The Children’s Arts Festival is loosely based on the Arts for Kids festival in Boise, which is held throughout the summer months and is coming up on its 19th year. Members of the WRAA have traveled to Boise to attend this event seeking inspiration for the Wood River Valley’s own festival, as well as to learn what works and what does not. Holding the Children’s Arts Festival in winter will give it its own unique flavor. R.L. Rowsey, core company artist at the Company of Fools, notes, “Timing is everything, and I can’t imagine a better way for families to spend time together in the middle of the winter than to explore the arts and the arts organizations that make up the Wood River Arts Alliance.”  >>>


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