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San Marcos event breathes life into the arts

SAN MARCOS — Less funding for school programs and a harsh economy has made it hard for the arts to flourish in recent years.
But in an all-day event Oct. 4, the city of San Marcos pushed back against that trend and hosted its 12th annual Arts Alive festival. Tucked into the parking lot by the San Marcos Civic Center and library, dozens of vendors of art, crafts and related services gathered to promote art as part of life in San Marcos. Limited to San Marcos artists and artisans, the lineup included music schools, photographers, painters and crafters.
One notable addition this year was Coffee 4 Kids, a charity group. “We feed about 400 children a day in a hospital in Honduras,” said Shawn Plowman, who runs Coffee 4 Kids with her husband Glenn. “We are a project of Medical Support International. We buy (coffee) from a tiny farmer in Honduras, and we don’t sell it, we get a donation to help feed the kids, and we get a gift for these donations.”
Along with the booths featuring food and art, there were also two venues for live performance. The outdoor stage connected to the Civic Center itself was host to dance troupes for most of the event. Students of ballet, modern dance, hip hop, hula and belly dancing all made their way across the outdoor amphitheatre.
The other stage was home for a more kinetic sort of performance. Cheerleaders could be seen bobbing and weaving together, huddling in tight formations before exploding outward with flips up into the air. Cheer teams from all of the San Marcos Unified School Districts high schools performed before ceding the stage to rock bands from the area as well.
“We’re trying to showcase all of the talents from our community,” Cathy Cronin, the recreation supervisor and events coordinator for the city said. “All the way from performing arts to fine arts, along with our crafters. We wanted it to be really interactive, so we have lots of hands-on for the kids. It’s a celebration of the arts, all of them.”