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Community on board for arts festival

This year’s Arts on the Square is turning out to be a celebration of the arts throughout the community.

The fourth annual arts festival will be held Aug. 20-21 on the city square and is being sponsored by the nonprofit Waupaca Community Arts Board.

“Every year, there is more involvement,” said Marci Reynolds, who is the arts board president. “We wanted it to be a community celebration of the arts.”

For a time earlier this year, the board wondered if it could afford to do the festival.

“This year, we didn’t get as much hotel-motel tax (funds). It forced us to really look at if we could afford to do the festival again,” Reynolds said. “We struggled. If we didn’t do it, we knew we would never do it again.”

The board requested $6,000 in room tax dollars from the city and received $2,000.

Originally, the budget for the event was $13,000. Now, they are doing the festival for about $7,000.

She said the budget includes such things as tents, tables, sound equipment, promotion and entertainment.

“We pay all the musicians and entertainers, because we believe in paying people. They make a living doing this,” she said.

Armed with the feedback the group received after its first-ever arts summit last February, the board decided to move forward with plans for this year’s Arts on the Square.

“We decided to do it, because we knew we could pull the community together,” Reynolds said.

The community has come through for the event.

New this year will be Creative Communities booths made up of area arts organizations.

Reynolds said the retailers are collaborating with the arts board as well. Businesses throughout the city and in King will be participating in a Wau-King Art Tour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18. Artists will be in residence at the businesses.

In Weyauwega, Wega Arts is partnering with Arts on the Square, with Annie Hughes singing at the Gerold Opera House on Thursday, Aug. 19.

In addition, throughout the week leading up to the festival, there will be chalking on the sidewalks outside of Waupaca businesses.

Then, from 3 p.m. to about 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, Allyce Lees of The Paint Store will lead a chalking workshop in front of the Waupaca Area Public Library.

There will be a chalking competition, with the cost being $15 for a square – a box of sidewalk chalk will be provided. Ribbons will be awarded for first, second and third place.

That will be followed by the annual street dance with the lineup on Saturday, Aug. 21, including art, entertainment, an expanded farmers market, demonstrations and food.

Reynolds said the Waupaca Area Historical Society and Waupaca Area Public Library also plan to be involved. The historical society will have cross-stitch at the Hutchinson House and art in the depot.

The Lincoln exhibit will be open at the library, and the library will also be putting on two art workshops.

In support of the arts, Mayor Brian Smith proclaimed August Arts Appreciation Month during the July 20 council meeting.

Reynolds said it is a way to support all arts events taking place during the month.

As for Arts on the Square, she said, “It’s a week of events now. We didn’t get the funding, but we got a better festival.”

With less hotel-motel funds available this year, the Waupaca Community Arts Board did fundraising and has received donations ranging from $25 to several hundred dollars from individuals and businesses in the community.

Reynolds said another way people can support this year’s Arts on the Square is by volunteering. To learn where volunteers are needed, visit the arts board website at www.waupacaarts.org.

And, she said that while planning is great, “We need a lot of people to come to the festival. We need huge turnouts Friday night and Saturday. We need people to pull together and support this. It supports the arts – the quality of life in our city. It will make the community strong. We can make this an arts destination.”

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