This weekend the chickens will have their day as the Cultural Crossroads 17th Spring Arts Festival presents "Chickenstock." The event, held at the Farm, kicks off on Thursday, goes through Friday and opens to the public on Saturday.
Recycling trash into art will be the order of the day when the Spring Arts Festival struts into action Thursday. Alice Guffey Miller, the nationally acclaimed artist who has traveled as far as Germany to charm the locals with her ability to turn trash into art, will be in Minden for festival week.
"We are so fortunate to have her here, " said Chris Broussard, festival co-chair. "Everything I've read about Alice tells me she's the right person to spark the imagination of our children. I can't wait to see what they create together."
Thursday and Friday of the festival is traditionally reserved for area third graders. More than 500 students will converge on the Farm those two days to work side by side with professional artists.
Paid for with grant dollars from the state, the students will split off into groups and begin to create this year's festival mascot, the funky chicken, out of found objects and trash. Spectators are welcome to bring a sack lunch and picnic on the grounds with the children.
Miller has been contracted by Cultural Crossroads to lead the students in the creation of a large outdoor sculpture to honor the bird that is the center of attention for this year's Spring Arts Festival.
Miller calls herself the 'trashformer' and she gives art a boost by "turning on" school children to the discipline through hands-on projects that display a "play" spirit and child-like quality that is both joyful and humorous.
"Every little thing that turns children on to their artistic talents is a benefit to all mankind," said Miller.
"She's a magician with kids." Broussard said. "There is no comprehensive arts curriculum in our public elementary schools. For many of these children, this is their first real art experience."
The Farm will be open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. those two days for 'Kids' day on the Farm.' All activities are provided for the students free of charge. The funky chicken sculpture will be presented to the public on Saturday.
Other professional artists contracted to assist Miller include Dee Scallan of West Monroe and Kelly McDade of Bossier City.
Other events include:
Friday: Book and Movie Night
Gates to the Farm will open at 6:30 p.m. for Book and Movie Night. A book signing ceremony for the newly released "Romeo and Chickliette" will take place under the big tent. The fictional children's book was written and illustrated by fourth and sixth graders at Glenbrook School and will be officially released for sale during the festival. The books are $10 each and all proceeds will benefit future Arts in Education programs in the parish.
"Chicken Run" a full feature film will be shown on the outdoor movie screen at the Farm. Full of animation and wonder, this movie will bring to life the barnyard antics of life on the Farm. Movie starts at 7 p.m. Friday night activities at the Farm are being sponsored by St. Rest Ministries. Concessions will be open before and during the movie. Admission is free.
Saturday: All Star Line up
The annual Spring Arts Festival will be open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. This year there will be a variety of new events coupled with all time favorites such as the annual Great Talent Search, the children's hands on museum and the largest exhibition of children's art in the area.
New events will include a 'dress your chicken' pageant, a funky chicken costume contest and a rooster calling contest. Contestants can sign up the day of the festival.
Public art stations will be open all day so festival-goers can 'leave their mark' at this years' event as the festival offers up the largest community public art installation. Participants will have the chance to paint on a monster mural with the Springhill Art League and learn to mosaic with Anita Goodson.
Lisa Giblin will show how to create, design and craft a personal page for the community book and Pamela Viviano will instruct the art of weaving with a variety of wild and unusual material. All public art pieces will remain at the Farm for all to enjoy for years to come.
Under the 'Families Create' tent free workshops will be offered throughout the day, but the projects are limited to the first fifteen people. Broussard recommends signing up early. All workshops are free and participates get to keep the art.
Those workshops include:
10-11 a.m. – Clayworks with Julie Tully
2-3 p.m. – Jewelry Making with Karen LaBeau
3-4 p.m. – Wire Creations with Jay Marks
4-5 p.m. – Cartooning with Chuck Loridans
Saturday evening from 4:30 until 6 p.m., FeFe Byram of New Orleans will close the festival with "Woodstock Revisited." Ken Jenkins will join Byram. Both musicians were past Talent Search winners and are now accomplished musicians with a CD of their own.