CONWAY — The arts will “shine” throughout Conway beginning Thursday when the Conway Alliance for the Arts presents the seventh annual Conway ArtsFest. The festival, which will conclude Oct. 5, will feature music, art, theater, dance, creative writing and film.
“Each year seems to be a bigger and better event,” said Jim Wiltgen, dean of students at Hendrix College and co-chairman of this year’s festival with Shawn Goicoechea, human resources technician at Hendrix. Events will be held in and around Simon Park in downtown Conway, as well as at the Faulkner County Library, Central Baptist College, Hendrix and the University of Central Arkansas.
“Each day features different events with the last two days, Oct. 4 and 5, highlighting music and art for all in Simon Park,” Wiltgen said. “The theme this year is Shine On. Many of the events and activities follow the general theme of ‘light,’ which is inspired by two works of public art by the Colorado light and sound artist Jen Lewin and brought to the festival by the Baum Gallery of Fine Art at UCA.”
The first of ArtFest’s light-related programs will premier at 5 p.m. Oct. 3 with the opening of the two Lewin sculptures.
The Pool, an interactive light installation made up of 106 circular platforms, will be at the UCA Alumni Circle. Visitors are encouraged to interact with The Pool. As they do, light will change according to their movements, creating a unique experience for each visitor.
At Chandelier Harps in Simon Park, festivalgoers can make their own music by “plucking” beams of light. By moving through and playing with each installation, visitors will have the experience of becoming part of a work of art.
Both installations will be on view from 5-10 p.m. Oct. 3 in Simon Park, and The Pool will also be on view from 5-10 pm. Oct. 4 at UCA.
Lewin will present a public lecture at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in McCastlain Hall’s lecture room at UCA.
In conjunction with Lewin’s light and sound sculptures, visitors are encouraged to attend free dance performances Oct. 3 at the sculpture sites at UCA and downtown. At 6 and 6:30 p.m., the CORE Performance Co., a professional dance organization based in Houston and Atlanta, will perform site-specific choreography within Lewin’s The Pool. They will be joined by dance students from Hendrix College and Blackbird Academy, as well as clients from Independent Living Services in Conway and Arkansas Enterprises for the Developmentally Disabled of Little Rock.
CORE will perform site-specific choreography at 8 and 8:30 p.m. at Chandelier Harps in Simon Park on Oct. 3.
ArtsFest activities actually begin this week, with a 5 p.m. Thursday lecture at Hendrix, featuring visiting artist Dustyn Bork, assistant professor of art at Lyon College. He will speak on mixed media and printmaking in Hendrix Art Building B on Front Street. A reception will follow at 6 in Art Building A.
Simon Park will be the setting for two events on Friday.
At 7 p.m., Conway artist Julie Isom will unveil a yarn-bombing piece that will transform the park’s red caboose into a knitted work of art.
Following the unveiling of the caboose, the Conway Symphony Orchestra will hold a free concert at 7:30 on the Kris Allen Stage in Simon Park. Under the direction of Geoffrey Robson, conductor for the 2013-2014 season, the orchestra will perform pieces from Rossini, Rogers and Hammerstein, Tchaikovsky and Bizet, including selections from The Nutcracker and The Sound of Music.
Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for the outdoor concert, but no pets. In case of rain, the concert will be moved to the Snow Fine Arts Recital Hall at UCA. A decision will be announced on the CSO website and Facebook page by 3 that afternoon.
The Conway Community Arts Association will join Conway ArtsFest with its presentation of Amateurs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at The Lantern Theatre, 1021 Van Ronkle St. Tickets are $12; reservations may be made by emailing ConwayLantern
Theatre@gmail.com or by calling (501) 733-6220.
ArtsFest 2013 will continue at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 as The Lantern Theatre hosts the Arkansas Saxophone Quartet. This multimedia concert will include The Modern Art Suite by Rusty Dedrick, Line Drawings After Mark Tobey by Samuel Adler and Heartbreakers by Jacob Ter Veldius. Projections of corresponding works of art and video will accompany the music.
In celebration of the art of writing, Central Baptist College will host author Leigh McLeroy of Houston, Texas, at 7 p.m. Oct. 1, in Burgess Auditorium. A book signing will follow.
On Oct. 2, the Oxford American, Toad Suck Review and Hendrix’s The Aonian will partner with the Conway pop-rock-punk band Frass for an evening of literature and music on the rooftop of Table Mesa Bistro, 1117 Oak St. Award-winning students from Hendrix College’s creative writing program will read at 8 p.m., and Toad Suck Review editors and Master of Fine Arts students at UCA will read at 8:30. Poet Nickole Brown of Little Rock will read at 9, followed by author Jay Jennings, also of Little Rock, reading from the new paperback incarnation of his Charles Portis Miscellany with a signing to follow. Frass will play at 9:30.
UCA’s Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall will be the venue for a free concert performed by the Manhattan-based Cassatt String Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3. The concert will feature the world premiere of an original composition by American composer Bruce Adolphe, who will be present for the concert and will introduce the music. Commissioned by the UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication, the composition, titled Mary Cassatt: Scenes From Her Life, is inspired by works of art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.
Light up the Night activities
will be held from 5-10 on Oct. 4. The Kris Allen Stage will be host to four live bands, including one touring act. The park will be full of many activities, including a flash-drawing contest called Graphite Guerrillas, the Little Photo booth, a shadow-puppet theater, a light bomber booth, hands-on art activities, a scavenger hunt and a light installation by Scott Meador of Conway.
The Lantern Theater will host the Conway Film Festival on Oct. 4 and 5. This juried festival features films directed or produced by Faulkner County filmmakers and includes narrative shorts, documentaries and music videos. Screening hours include 7-9 p.m. Oct. 4 and 1-3 p.m. Oct. 5.
The Reynolds Performance Hall at UCA will present Lightwire Theater’s The
Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and The Hare at 10 a.m. Oct. 5. Lightwire Theatre uses LED technology to create electroluminescent puppetry. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available at the Reynolds box office (501) 450-3265) or at the website, uca.edu/reynolds. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to the event.
There will be many events for the whole family to enjoy at Art in the Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 5 in Simon Park. Activities include hands-on art projects for the kids, such as sidewalk chalk, book making, clay crafts and a puppet theater. The kids can also visit the Instrument Petting Zoo, hosted by Preston Palmer Studios, where they can play a number of instruments.
Art in the Park will hold its second annual ArtsFest Marketplace in which local artists are invited to show and sell their goods.
ArtsFest will conclude Oct. 5 with a JazzFest in Simon Park from 7-10 p.m.
Scheduled performers include the UCA Dixieland Band, coached by Jackie Lamar, UCA professor of saxophone. The group performs both early New Orleans-style and Chicago-style traditional jazz.
Jazz duo Simona Donova on flute and Michael Yoder on bass will also perform jazz standards in swing, bossa nova and ballad styles.
The evening will conclude with a community jam session. Jazz artists and enthusiasts are invited to bring their instruments and join the fun.
Several exhibits will be on display throughout the festival.
Baum Gallery at UCA will host art exhibits from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30 through Oct. 4. The exhibits include Angle of Repose paintings on found paper by Maysey Craddox, Nature/Nurture photos by Jennifer Shaw and Artistic Eye: Works from the Personal Collections of the UCA Art Faculty.
The Conway League of Artists will display art in Kordsmeier Furniture’s storefront windows at Chestnut and Oak streets.
The Conway Photography Club will sponsor an exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 2 through Oct. 5 at Conway City Hall, 1201 Oak St.
The Conway Schools Art Exhibit will be on display from 4-8 p.m. Oct. 4 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 5 in the lobby of American Management Corp., 824 Front St., and the Independent Living Services Art Exhibit will be on display from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 4 at Bob’s Grill, 1112 Oak St.
Additional activities and events include the following:
• 1-5 p.m., Local Authors Fair, Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler St.
• 6 p.m., Guiding Us to You, a craft-in event led by Hendrix College students, LaLucha Space, 2035 Prince St.
• 3 p.m., Dedication and reception of World War II memorial sculptures Black Bear by Gary Keenan and Ring of Peace by Bryan Massey Sr., lobby, Wingo Hall, UCA.
• 4 p.m., Puppet Theater performance, Faulkner County Library, 1900 Prince St.
For a full schedule of events, visit www.artsfestconway.com.