Ravenna searching for artists

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

Calling all artists.

The city of Ravenna's parks and recreation department is looking for artists, including, and perhaps especially, those who might not consider themselves one.

As part of its "culture and arts" initiative, the department is planning an event to showcase its local artists and artisans, and hopes the event will draw people who are skilled in some "lost arts."

"Somebody may say, 'My mother and grandmother used to do canning, so what,'" said Elaine VanHoose, director of the department. "But that's becoming a lost art."

The city is planning an arts festival from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 12 at City Park. Planning committee members hope the event will draw people skilled in candle making, jewelry making, cheesemaking, beekeeping, puppeteering, as well as musicians, sculptors, painters and other visual artists.

Organizers hope most artisans come prepared to demonstrate their art for an interactive display, and be prepared to offer lessons, perhaps through the Parks and Recreation Department.

"We want to see what we have to offer, and we want to show that to the public," said Rick Hughes, a member of the planning committee.

Hughes is director of the Ravenna All City Musical and plans to have cast members from April's presentation of "The Little Mermaid" act out a scene for the public.

Jennifer Rice, the city's recreation supervisor, said the idea came after the city narrowly lost out on a Pepsi Refresh Grant last year. She found a guidebook from the Tennessee Arts Commission, which leads communities through the process of taking a cultural inventory.

The committee was surprised to see some of the things listed in the guidebook as "art." The list included things such as storytelling, written literature, games and sports such as marbles, and occupational arts such as whiskey making, celebrations, maple syrup making and meat curing.

"We're hoping to uncover some unexpected treasures or unconventional arts that may be lost," she said.

She suggested that with the autumn time frame of the festival, corn maze designers might be drawn to the event.

VanHoose said the particulars of the event haven't quite been worked out, such as whether artists would pay a fee to participate and whether they would be permitted to sell their art. However, they would be encouraged to give information on offering lessons to the public.

"If you have an interest in something and don't know where you can go to take lessons, this would be the place to start," she said.

Hughes said the lessons might be a good resource for the Ravenna School District.

"The schools could use this to have people come in like crazy," he said.

The department is hoping to first draw people from the city of Ravenna, then Ravenna Township and Portage County.

"We're hoping this will put Ravenna on the map and bring people to town," she said. "We hope for this to be a destination."

Artists interested in more information may call the parks department at 330-296-2864.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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  • The FJKluth Art Gallery in Kent has samples of local artisans work. Artisans who wish to demonstrate or present their art or craft for sale can schedule an event at the gallery. There is no charge for this. Call 330-676-1999.