Ardys Ramberg just hopes the T-shirts she ordered for the first Harvest of Arts festival are prophetic.
"I was so excited about all this," she said. "I ordered shirts that said `First Annual Harvest of Arts.' Then someone told me that was wrong."
Something can't be annual if it hasn't happened before. And it was too late to have the shirts changed.
But the festival, which runs from Sept. 27 through Oct. 4, is still a first, Ramberg hopes, of many. Ramberg artist, musician and director of the festival calls it a weeklong celebration of the diversity of arts in Lawrence.
CENTERED in downtown, the festival will include different performances in nooks and crannies, artwork in store-front windows on Massachusetts Street and a parade on Oct. 3 starting at 9:30 a.m. The event is co-sponsored by Downtown Lawrence Inc. and the Lawrence Alliance, Ramberg said.
"This is almost an attempt to see how many artists there are in Lawrence," Ramberg said. "I thought there'd be some interest, but I never expected all this."
She said organizers estimate at least 300 artists from all expressions will participate in the festival.
"We have songwriters, storytellers, potters, musicians, art in all types of mediums, writers . . . there's something for everyone," she said.
THE IDEA for a weeklong festival was born last July, Ramberg said. "I kept saying what a good idea it would be, and suddenly I was in charge of putting this together."
The main purpose of the festival is to heal division in the community, she said.
"We wanted something celebratory and uplifting," she said. "Something that would include everyone in the art community."
At first it was going to last only a day, then a weekend. But the response was overwhelming, and now there's something happening every night of the week all over downtown.
"We contacted the owners and managers of stores and restaurants downtown and told them about this week of art," Ramberg said. "We told them we'd like to have paintings, sculptures and tapestries in windows for one week. I hoped that at least half would say yes, and instead I only had one person say no.
"I kept asking them if they were sure, and they assured me they were."
THERE'LL be a lot more going on than just art exhibits though.
Looking for music and storytelling on Sept. 28? Try Burcham Park, Second and Indiana, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
How about Wednesday, Sept. 30? Check out some music at the Lawrence Arts Center at 8 p.m.
The list goes on. Full schedules are available at downtown stores and restaurants.
Ramberg said organizing the week of art has been more than just a learning experience.
"I ran across some incredibly good people," she said. "The people who say this is wonderful and ask what they can do to help. I ask if they'll stuff envelopes and they jump to help out, even with the most menial tasks."