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The Downtown ArtSpark festival by all accounts was a great success.  The celebration to open the Hansen Arts Park has been a long time in the making but on August 25 and 26 it finally happened. The event was designed to give a taste of what’s possible in our community’s newest outdoor venue.

From the big WOW elements like Michael Murnane’s “Under Ice” wall projection, the installations Traffic Jam, Dumpling House and Behind the Seams to the music of Ryan Keplin, Debi Rogers, and the Belles on Broadway to the stories of Kevin Kling and those provided by community participants during the Hot Dish: Storytelling Hour to the Fire Dancers, Living Sculpture participants, Artisan vendors, street chalk artists and much more we experienced how the Park can function and how the community responded.

We couldn’t have done it without countless volunteers, numerous hours of meetings and tireless dedication to the dream of a completed arts park. We learned a lot from the weekend and visitors provided great feedback that will help with planning future programs. And next time, yes, food vendors will definitely be part of the mix. The local restaurants did a great job of keeping people fed but more options will be available next time.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend its so hard to capture the many special moments. Here are just a few of my recollections…

The fire dancing program ignited a young child to a fabulous dance show of her own–to sit back and watch the two simultaneously dancing was a delight.

The crowd’s impressed comments when the “two-story-sized” fish swam across the wall. The technology was impressive – one can only imagine what might be on the horizon is this arena of art making.

The young girl who befriended the Dumpling House artists, helping them throughout the day and delivering to them a beautiful pencil drawing of dumplings based on her research of the world’s dumplings. If you know her send her down to The Arts Center for a complementary membership.

The woman who showed up wondering about the Living Sculpture contest, we encouraged her to participate and she took home 2nd place – no costume, just a great performance of suspended motion.

The Best of Show winner in the 53rd Annual JFAA Art Show happy to have her art reproduced in the brochure yet not even realizing she had won top honors until she was leaving the exhibit.

The excitement and monetary horrifying moments during the “raising” of the Arts Goddess, created by Bonnie Tressler and Taylor Barnes, as we heard the cracking of her internal supports, but she “lived” and in her “dwarf” reincarnation she became the centerpiece of numerous “selfies” and hours for fun for children attending the event.

The father & son who collaborated to retell a beloved story during the Hot Dish Storytelling Hour–in my opinion, that young boy is destined for a career in show business!

Please check out our Facebook Page for the great photos taken by the CSi TV 10 – The Replay Channel, we appreciate their great documentation of the event!! Thanks to everyone for attending, helping and encouraging us with the ArtSpark celebration.