Art in the Park

Annual Children's Arts Festival returns

Annual Children's Arts Festival returns

October 03, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

Kris Smead recalls that her son, Julius, had his face painted at last year's Children's Art Festival.

"I would strongly suspect it was Batman," she says of the design on her child's cheek.

Julius, now 5, also remembers the festival, and recalls that his younger siblings, twins Leah and Alexander, now 2 years old, stayed home.

Although Julius has a soccer game and scheduling will be a little tight, the Smeads plan to spend part of their Sunday in City Park at the festival.

"The twins can skip a nap," Kris Smead says. "We enjoyed it a lot."

The festival, a spin-off of the Park Arts Festival at Doub's Woods Park, has been happening since the late 1980s, says Barbara Spicher, executive director of the Washington County Arts Council, which presents the festival. She's had a huge response through the years.


Spicher is expecting the usual couple thousand children. There will be "hands-on" art activities for pre-school through elementary-school-aged kids.

Winnie Wagaman, managing editor of Antietam Review, the arts council's annual literary magazine, helped at the festival's tissue-paper-flower-making station last year, a popular spot.

"It was non-stop," she says. Kids were lined up eight deep, she adds.

Other volunteers - about 50 of them - will help children make art in a variety of media. Spicher says the arts council board members always are supportive. Some of the volunteers are high school students who will be earning community service hours helping to expose children to art, helping them to create and have fun doing it in a positive setting.

New this year is the opportunity to create photo collage decoupage plaques. There will be scratch art - etchings on paper, Spicher says.

Kids can fashion jewelry with clay beads they've made designs on. They can make googly-eyed bugs with pipe cleaners and strips of foam, as well as "sand paintings," sprinkling colored sand on a glue outline on a piece of paper. Spicher says they are very colorful. She still has one her daughter made when she was a child.

Kids will have a chance to be part of a group mural, adding acrylic paint colors to the large wooden cutouts of farm animals made by board member David Gibney two years ago.

The animals, with fresh coats of white paint, are ready and waiting to be transformed by the children. By the end of the day, with all the paint, they end up khaki colored, Spicher laughs.

North High Band Boosters will sell food and beverages, and if the children - and their parents - want to take a break from creating, they can sit back and be entertained.

Paul Hadfield will return as "Spats," the clown. He's on the bandshell stage at 1:30 p.m. unicycling, ladder-walking, egg-juggling, rope-spinning, joke-cracking and character-acting.

He'll stick around and take his schtick to the people.

New World Theater Company, a family of professional performers, will take the stage at 2:30 p.m., and juggle, do magic, comedy and eat fire - all with a flair of environmental awareness.

Penelope the clown performs all afternoon, making balloon sculptures.

Julius got a sword balloon last year, his mom says. Another festival, another balloon, another Batman.

"We're definitely going again," says Kris Smead.

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