Arts Midwest grant helps Paris Center of Fine Arts

ArtFest meant to augment Artrageous performance

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An Arts Midwest Touring Fund grant of $1,200 to the Paris Center of Fine Arts is helping offset the booking fee for Artrageous – a multidisciplinary approach incorporating a performance of live dance and music, while also creating two-dimensional art pieces.

“It’s an important grant,” said PCOFA Fine Arts Manager Kristin Chittick. “Arts Midwest is a regional arts group, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, for the upper Midwest and Great Lakes area.”

She explained the goal of Arts Midwest is to help bring the arts to underserved communities. An important aspect of the grant is a community art project that was in the works before the grant was awarded.

Local artist Millie Arp is planning an ArtFest 2-4 p.m. Sept. 8 near Spicer Pavilion at Twin Lakes Park. Final details are yet to be resolved but one of the stations planned for the mini-festival is stringing clear shower curtains so children can paint on both sides. The curtains will later be cut into strips for hanging at the theater entrances for the Sept. 15 Artrageous performance.

Other ArtFest events include sidewalk chalk drawing, putting paint in balloons and throwing darts so the bursting paint creates images and shaving cream prints.

“There are lots of cool ideas coming in,” said Chittick. “It’s going to be messy, but fun.”

Arp is seeking the help of area art teachers and high school students to help plan the ArtFest and staff the event. Chittick added the PCOFA is working with the Paris Park Board for ArtFest and will seek other partners to help sponsor the event.

According to Chittick, the ArtFest is a way to connect with community, especially youth, about the importance of art.

“You want kids to experience what they can beyond what they know,” said Chittick.

One way to emphasize that message is by creating a banner with one of Arp’s favorite quotations from Pablo Picasso: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up.”

Those working on ArtFest hope to display the art created by the children in the lobby of the PCOFA during the Artrageous performance and to also find ways for the children to win free, or discounted, tickets to Artrageous in order to keep the experience of creativity at the forefront.

Chittick said Artrageous is unlike anything that has appeared of PCOFA stage before. The performance is billed as part art studio, part rock concert and part creation lab.

While the performers are doing a show of music and song, the visual artists on stage will be creating two pieces of art on six-foot by six-foot canvases. The canvases may be auctioned at a later date but those details have not been finalized.

Artrageous is not a situation where people perform on stage and the audience sits back and is entertained. Audience participation is an important element of the show.

“The will have a splatter station where people can bring a T-shirt and participate,” said Chittick. “Their feeling is art is connected to the brain and to health.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for either the ArtFest or to help PCOFA can contact Chittick, 217-251-2016, for more information.