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Arts Fest boasts biggest year yet

ENCINITAS — Musicians, dancers, painters and stilt walkers came together for an afternoon of seamless entertainment on March 23.

The third annual Encinitas Arts Festival was held this year at the San Dieguito Academy Performing Arts Center. The venue allowed the festival to include more participants and stage performers in topnotch facilities.

“The high school has true performance facilities,” Jim Gilliam, Encinitas arts admistrator, said. “It makes it uniquely different this year.”

In the indoor theater, actors and dance groups performed to choreographed lighting and music.

Talent on stage ranged from the YMCA Dance youth group, to high school actors and Patricia Rincon Dance Collective professional dancers.

Gilliam said the festival is a showcase of artists “where they are at.”

Student talent is a big part of the festival.

“School participation is a critical and major component,” Gilliam said. “It’s a chance to see our young emerging talent in Encinitas performing arts.”

A band jam between elementary and high school garage bands was held on the band room stage.

Matt Homer is lead vocalist and guitar player in Sacred Cow.

“In this one we’re all winners,” Homer said. “We take every opportunity we can to perform.

“We like to spread our music around and see if people like it.”

Professional artists were also a vibrant part of the festival.

Gilliam said professional artists inspire young performers and are often teachers and leaders in the arts community.

“Encinitas has a vibrant arts culture,” Gilliam said. “There are hundreds of artists and more than nine arts organizations in Encinitas.”

On the outdoor amphitheater stage, large groups of musicians and dancers performed, including a concert band with 90 members.

The Dragon Knights Stilt Theater, based in Encinitas, performed an acrobat and puppet show on the amphitheater stage.

The Kehulili O Kailani Dance School and North Coast Symphony Strings were also among the groups who performed on the outdoor stage.

Rows of artist booths lined the grass area around the amphitheater.

There were opportunities to buy art and make art.

“Part of the concept is hands-on activities,” Gilliam said.”Children and parents can create art.”

The San Dieguito Academy Artists for a Cause club sponsored marble painting and a collaborative sculpture project, in which participants could glue decorations and phrases onto a life-size paper mache unicorn.

High school senior Alana Primes said the student club uses art as a social statement.

“We spread art and get it out in the community,” Primes said.

Another part of the outdoor fun was a seascape mural that eventgoers were invited to paint.

“I love to see how paint flows on the canvas,” artist Paul Carson said. “I love to get the chance to express myself.”

There was also a stilt walker dressed as an ostrich who made her way through the crowd.

The Arts Festival began three years ago to fill a community need.

“We are a very large arts community and did not have an arts festival,” Gilliam said.

The festival gives artists a community stage.

“Ninety percent of the artists are from Encinitas,” Gilliam said.

“The benefit to the community is they can see art at one central location in one four-hour festival.”


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