North Park’s Festival of Arts shows community’s creative side San Diego Communities – North Park Written by Elena Buckley, writing for San Diego Uptown News Wednesday, 04 May 2011 20:44
North Park’s Festival of Arts has evolved over the 15 years since its inception. in the early ’90s, the event focused mainly on music, but in 2000 it changed its name to the North Park Spring Festival, and five years later became the Festival of Arts. Whatever its moniker, however, up to 30,000 people annually attend—“as long as the weather’s good,” laughs Liz Studebaker, executive director of North Park Main Street.
This year, on May 15, the free street festival features six stages for music and performing arts, more than 300 performers, about 120 booths (half of them featuring 40 juried artist vendors), and at least eight hands-on artistic activities in the Kids Art Block. There will also be a craft beer block on Ohio St., featuring 10 sample tastes from San Diego breweries and wineries for $25 in advance, $30 the day of the event.
North Park is becoming more of a regional destination, Studebaker notes, and the festival showcases the community’s creativity.
“It’s a great way for people around Southern California to come to North Park. Maybe they haven’t been here for a few years… [and] it’s a great opportunity for them to see all the positive changes happening.”
Studebaker said that the festival now has examples of almost every type of artistic medium, and businesses view the festival as a way to “…draw people here to learn more about North Park and to appreciate artsbased businesses”—such as the many art galleries, art schools, art workshops, tattoo parlors and hair salons in the area.
“I feel like it’s a great reflection of the community in terms of diversity,” Sara Morrison, event chair said. “I feel that because of that you have things that appeal to younger audiences, families…20-somethings [and the] older crowd.”
In her four years with the festival, Morrison has worked to help expand the event’s diversity, bringing in more and newer bands and forging a stronger partnership with artists in the community—“bringing the right people to the table to make sure that all areas are represented,” as she puts it.
The six stages around the festival show a distinct range of musical styles, with alternative on the Main Stage at 30th St. and University Ave. and an open mic, performing arts mix of beat boxing, jazz, acoustic folk and the stylings of the girls from Lips on the Beats & Eats Stage at Illinois Street and University Avenue, by the food court.
There will also be dance ensembles featuring the Eveoke Youth Performing Group, San Diego Ballet, Flamenco Arana and more on the Dance Stage at 32nd Street and University Avenue, with groups from Japan, Greece, South Africa and more at the World Music stage at Grim and University avenues, older North Park musical acts at Drowsy Maggie’s stage on 31st St. and more alternative music at the Bar Pink stage inside the craft beer block.
There will be a plein air “quick-draw” event on Ray St. along with interactive events and oil, pastel and metalwork demonstrations. Ray St. will also house the Kids Art Walk area, with hands-on activities sponsored by Young Audiences of San Diego, McKinley Elementary, UPS, the Rare Hare Studio, Eveoke Dance Theatre, Dragonfly Designs, BioEASI and the Chula Vista Community Arts Group. Each activity’s theme is created by the organizing group, and themes range from learning what it would feel like to be eaten by a whale to interactive dance lessons.
“It’s really meant to inspire children to have some interaction with their creative side,” Studebaker said.Juried artists present every category of fine art imaginable, including photography, printmaking/digital, sculpture, glass art and watercolor/pastels. the North Park Craft Mafia, a group of DIY businesses working together to promote the artistic community, will also sell original handmade, crafts.
Scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on University Avenue and 30th Street, the festival receives about 10 percent of its funding from the City of San Diego Com-mission for Arts and Culture. the rest comes from private sponsors, including Ascent Realty, San Diego Dialed in, FM 94/9 and many more.
To assist with the lack of parking in the area, the parking structure at 3829 29th St. will be free all day and will offer a unique bike valet service by Velo Cult. For more information, visit: northparkfestivalofarts.com. this article originally appeared in San Diego Uptown News (a media partner of SDNR).