The upcoming Harvest of Arts celebration will showcase 500 artists and performers.
Call it the not-so-little arts fair, or maybe the arts festival that could.
As the volunteers for the eighth annual Harvest of Arts celebration put the finishing touches on the upcoming programs, it is readily apparent that the festival is going to be big. Really big.
But since their goal is to highlight the work of every Lawrence musician, dancer, poet and artist that they can, the event coordinators are not complaining about the sheer number of people that are coming together for next week's activities.
"It's huge, and everyone is local, and that's exciting," Lissa Probus, president of the festival, said.
And though it keeps growing, the goal of the gathering has remained constant -- to showcase Lawrence's diverse cultural community in a commercial-free setting.
"By having a week-long festival it gives people a chance to gather together and get to know artists and see art and hear the bands," Probus said. "Many artists who show their work here will not show their work anywhere else."
The festival has drawn sponsorship from more than 40 different organizations, and some of them are running events in conjunction with Harvest of Arts.
The Lawrence Art Guild is one such sponsor. The guild is exhibiting the work of more than 25 artists through Sept. 30 at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.
Artwork can literally be seen just about anywhere. Downtown merchants are showing artwork as part of the "Art in the Storefront Windows" exhibit. To kick off the program, a mini-reception is planned from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Tuesday in the public library auditorium.
Participants will then venture over to the Eldridge Hotel, 701 Mass., to take a flashlight walking tour of the downtown exhibits.
Probus said the merchants' support has been excellent, but the event coordinators are always seeking more venues for the art displays.
"I just want every business in Lawrence to display art for a week," Probus said. "It's such a huge project and we want to get as many opportunities for artists to be seen as possible."
The work of several artists also can be seen at the Designer's Showhouse, 1613 Tenn. All money raised from tours through the house will benefit Cottonwood Inc.
Other art activities will be offered Oct. 2-3 at the open-air fair in Buford M. Watson Jr. Park.
More than visual art
Several other Harvest of Arts events are growing in popularity. The Harvest of Arts Film Festival and the Singer-Songwriters' Showcase are big draws for participants and audiences alike.
"The charm of this is that we're hitting a different crowd. There is a wide assortment, from the art crowd to kids with their parents," Mark von Schlemmer, film festival coordinator, said. "It's fun because there is a whole conglomeration of people who will be seeing things that they usually don't get to see."
Variety is the keyword at the Harvest of Arts. Patrons will also hear poetry readings. A community picnic is planned, and a hip-hop skate demonstration is on the list.
Belly dancers will gyrate on Massachusetts Street, and food vendors will provide fare that runs the gamut from hot dogs to cuisine by restaurateurs, including Jupiter Deli and Pachamama's.
"There's always a good response," Probus said. "Even the smallest events are well-attended."
Music, music and more music
Bands and solo performers will have ample opportunity to play and jam at this year's festival. Along with Music in Mural Alley, other events include a drum circle and stages devoted piano, classic and jazz music.
As musicians continue to join up, more types of music are added to the schedule. New this year is the ragtime stage, featuring musicians devoted to the Dixieland sound.
A complete listing of all events, times and locations is available by calling 749-0470 or 749-2787. You can also find a complete listing in today's Mag calendar.
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CELEBRATING THE ARTS
What: Harvest of Arts, featuring concerts, poetry readings, art exhibits, a film festival, a singer-songwriter showcase, art in storefront windows, an open-air fair and more.
When: Sunday through Oct. 3.
Where: Various locales throughout downtown Lawrence.
For a listing of events: Call 749-0470 or 785-749-2787 or check out the complete listing in today's Mag calendar.