Friday, May 1, 2009

McPherson needs an art festival

As I pack up to head to the Kansas Sampler Festival in Concordia, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of preparation it takes to exhibit at a festival of that magnitude let alone plan and coordinate it.

I'm sure the festival will be great fun even if the weather doesn't cooperate and that it will run smoothly. Marci Penner, Wendy LaPlante, and all the staff at the Concordia CVB have got it down to a science.

This week I received flyers and posters from the Smoky Hill River Festival in Salina. I'm a huge fan of this festival because it celebrates the arts and is extremely kid-friendly. My kids and I love to go to the art project tent and be creative, listen to children's bands or watch puppet shows on the children's stage or pig out at all the food vendors. The giant sand sculptures never cease to amaze me. The festival planners seem to come up with new ideas every year.

You have to wonder though at the sheer number of manhours that go into planning something like this. I know from the few hours I've volunteered for the Scottish Festival here in McPherson it takes many volunteers and many hours to put the festival on.

Of course this has all got me thinking. With Art in the Garden cancelled and the art walk not taking place for a couple of years and the news the school district will not exhibit its art collection for alumni weekend as it has in the past, there's a real gap in access to the arts. Don't get me wrong, VAAM does have events planned like the multi-media event May 9, but given what an artistic community we live in, why can't McPherson have an art festival? It doesn't have to be just like Salina's art festival but we could start with a small festival with local artists displaying their work. Goodness knows we have parks every bit as nice as Salina. McPherson definitely is not lacking in volunteer spirit either.

I'm not writing this to criticize but to start a dialog and get some feedback. The CVB would help in whatever capacity possible because events like the art walk and art in the garden bring visitors to town.

What do you think?

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