ArtsFest returns after being discontinued earlier this year

Blakeley Bartee and George Andersen

The Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department (SBCPRD) will host the 2016 ArtsFest, an art festival previously hosted by the Betty Foy Department of Art for over thirty years, in Sweetheart Circle on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The purpose [of ArtsFest] has always been an event to unite the community by celebrating the performance of the performing and visual arts through the creation of art experience, performance and tasting of culinary delights,” Kimberly Sharpe, committee events supervisor of the SBCPRD, said. “There will be a wide variety of art programs for all ages, from young children to adults.”

ArtsFest began in association with a bachelor’s degree program that no longer exists at Georgia Southern University: the B.S. in art education. In addition to the changes in curriculum in the Betty Foy Department of Art, the festival had expanded beyond the department’s capacity to effectively manage the event, leading to the temporary cancellation of ArtsFest.

When the Betty Foy Department of Art stepped down from hosting ArtsFest, the SBCPRD saved the festival. The SBCPRD will continue the tradition in Sweetheart Circle, the same location the Betty Foy department chose for the festival in previous years.

The Averitt Center for the Arts has contributed to ArtsFest for 13 years. The center will host three events at this year’s festival, including performances by over 50 of their young ballet and theater students.

“We do this to give the community an opportunity to experience all types of arts,” Tim Chapman, executive director of the Averitt Center for the Arts, said. “If a kid puts his hands on a hunk of clay and learned to make a pot and thought, ‘Wow, I enjoyed this,’ they might like to take a class at the Averitt Center.”

The festival will offer performances, food vendors, live music and hands-on arts and crafts hosted by community partners, including the Averitt Center for the Arts and the Bulloch County School System.

Jodi Henley, junior family and child development major, said, “I’d go [to ArtsFest] for the food and the music. It seems like a fun environment to go to with friends.”

Photo courtesy of Jeff Licciardello.