Festival brings free art activities downtown

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There’s one main mission March 24: Be creative.

For the free KidsGogh art activities of the 2018 KilGogh Arts Festival, Ignition Station Head Coach Hannah Beets and her crew have prepared a variety of crafts for kids of all ages.

“I’m not a person who goes by the books,” said Beets. “I’m attracted to things that make art without the regular paintbrush.”

She’s been plumbing Pinterest for arts and craft ideas, trying to find new artistic challenges for KidsGogh’s 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. run, paired with back-to-back entertainers in front of downtown Kilgore’s Texan Theater.

“It was cool to see how art can be made with different things,” said Beets, who also teaches third grade at Kilgore ISD. “I don’t know if any station has paintbrushes,” instead utilizing marbles, string and other materials to help guests ‘Gogh with the Flow’ in their free art projects.

“It will allow kids to do the creative themselves. Hopefully that will fit them well. Hopefully it will pique interest for the kids – just the idea of exploring, getting them out, doing something different.”

As dancers, musicians and other performers take the KilGogh stage throughout the day, the Texan Theater will be hosting works by two dozen professional artists and artisans alongside artwork by local students. Guests have free access to the venue throughout the day to peruse and purchase pieces.

“I think it’s a great offering that everything is free for kids to do,” says Sonya Trout. “Kids these days don’t get a chance to just be kids sometimes, to be able to color in and create something, to have a number of stations available to them for them, helping them create and enjoy arts and crafts.”

The KilGogh Arts Festival is an official Kilgore Main Street Program event, and the City of Kilgore’s new events coordinator and Main Street manager is eager to see a crowd downtown for her first large-scale event since arriving here.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity,” Trout said, “to bring the community together to create some great artwork.”

Saturday’s free 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. art activities and entertainment follow Friday night’s ticketed KilGogh Art & Wine Exhibition in the Texan – all the artists from the $50-per-person exhibition Friday night will welcome the public during Saturday’s admission-free display.

Friday’s entertainment features a visiting guest performer amid the painters, sculptors, photographers, artisans and crafters, Trout noted, who will channel Vincent van Gogh during his show in the Texan at 225 S. Kilgore St.

“We’re really so lucky to be getting Walter DeForest coming from New York City as our performing artist,” Trout said. “It really shows the growth, the reach the festival has managed to get.

“Hopefully, drawing new artists from New York, we can draw an audience from across East Texas and even into other states.”

For more information, log on to Facebook.com/KilGogh. To purchase tickets to Friday’s 7 p.m. art and wine exhibition, visit tinyurl.com/KilGogh2018 or call Trout at 903-984-5081.

– By JAMES DRAPER

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