By Tara Bennett
Mardi Gras may have come and gone, but festival season is still underway, as FestForAll returns to downtown Baton Rouge this weekend, filled with demonstrations, food, a full lineup of musicians and lots of fun for the whole family.
Sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, this event features 100 artists from throughout Louisiana and across the country. The festival takes place on April 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The location will primarily be around North Boulevard Town Square and the arts market will wrap around the Shaw Center. Admission to the event is free.
This spring will mark 41 years for the festival as a showcase of the arts in Baton Rouge, and has been long considered a premier Baton Rouge event for its level of quality and variety.
“One of the things the Arts Council strives for is greater access to the arts, and this festival has become a Baton Rouge tradition,” said Sandy Parfait, Projects and Technology director for the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. “I think of it as something that’s been passed on from generation to generation.”
Festivalgoers will be able to view live art demonstrations in action. Among the demonstrations will be live painting with Community School for the Arts Instructor, Anita LeJeune, hula hoop circus performances by Elise Duran and chainsaw wood sculptures with Burt Fleming. The festival offers many one-of-a-kind art pieces made for purchase, ranging in mediums including woodwork, crafts, glasswork, decorative ceramics, jewelry, as well as paintings in bold acrylics, vivid oils and delicate watercolors.
“I’m really excited about seeing Todd Hines this year,” said Parfait. Hines will demonstrate live wheel throwing to demonstrate how raw clay will turn into functional pottery.
Soccer balls will also be a primary medium done by local artists as FestForAll presents “Get a Kick Out of Art.” Visit Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the Baton Rouge Soccer Association, US Youth Soccer, and the Louisiana Soccer Association partnered with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge to present this project in support of the 2014 US Youth Soccer Region III Championships at BREC’s Burbank Soccer Complex from June 19-26. Twenty-five soccer balls will be painted with Louisiana and soccer inspired themes to be debuted at FestForAll on April 5 at 2 p.m. on the upper grounds of the Old State Capitol. The soccer balls will then be installed in area restaurants, and will be raffled off.
Two music stages will add lively entertainment to the 2014 festival by bringing an array of music ranging from jazz, Cajun zydeco, country, blues, funk, and rock.
Budding artists can take part in hands on art activities along with mini art lessons and music lessons. Children may also get their faces painted, participate in carnival games or have a cartoon caricature of themselves done by Keith Douglas.
In conjunction with the festival, attendees will also be able to participate in Free First Sunday, which offers free admission to the LSU Museum of Art, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) and the USS Kidd.
Food and beverages will be available throughout the festival, including Snow-T-Go, Jambalaya by Shake, Gabriel’s Cajun Concessions, Texas Custom Catering, Crazy Cajun, Chicken Shack Express, Pretzles on Wheels and Snow Day. Mockler Beverage and Baton Rouge Coca-Cola beverages will also be available for sale.
“[FestForAll] is a really great festival,” said Parfait. “It’s first out of the gate and is a great way to experience the arts first hand.”
For more festival information visit www.acgbr.com.