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White Squirrel Arts Festival returns to Downtown BG for second year

Photo from White Squirrel Arts Fest.

WKU students, professors and alumni will come together with members of the broader Bowling Green community to celebrate art in all its forms for the second White Squirrel Arts Fest. 

The festival will span over three days from April 19 through April 21 at several locations downtown and is free to attend.  

“We have worked hard to fundraise just so that we can give back to the community and everyone is able to participate,” Kelsey Tullis, board member and committee chair for the youth talent show and youth performances, said.

A concert featuring five local bands – BGRBA House Band, Ernie Small Blues Band, Swamp Rats, The Atomic Ranch Band, and The Daddy Sisters – will kick off the festival at the White Squirrel Brewery on Friday, April 19 at 5 p.m. 

Tullis said there will be no cover charge to enter the brewery, and the concert will be open to all ages.  

Festivities will continue on Saturday, April 20. Art and literary vendors will open their booths at the Circus Square Park at 10 a.m. The venue will also have food trucks and live music, Tullis said. Select artists will have booths inside the La Gala showroom.  

Some student artists and vendors will have tables along the Capitol Arts Alley. Tullis said the festivities will take place inside the Capitol too.  

High school students will start a sequence of three shows at 9 a.m. Middle school students and elementary and pre-k pupils will keep the ball rolling with shows at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. Tullis said performers can sign up to participate in these shows by April 15 but added that this is a soft deadline.  

First and second place winners in each show will get a cash prize and opportunity to perform an encore at Fountain Square Park. 

An adult poetry slam at 7 p.m. will close the performances at the Capitol.  

“Last year I had a little girl that was 4 get on the stage for the elementary show. She sang about a 6-minute acapella solo to where we had to get her off the stage because she was starting her song over, and it was magical,” Tullis said. “She has the best time, and that’s why I keep doing this.” 

Artists in action – those who “demonstrate their art form for an audience,” Tullis explained – will be on Fountain Square Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Tullis said last year Fountain Square was not as full as Circus Square Park, which is something that organizers of the White Squirrel Arts Fest have been working to change. This year, she said, it will be a place for families to come together and work on interactive art projects.  

“We will have some really talented local student artists, and I am excited that they have a platform where they can not only display the art works that they create, but also sell them and make a profit,” Tullis said. “Hopefully, it will lead to a lifetime of artistic ability for them.”  

A public reading of “Enemy of The People” at the Lisa Rice Library at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, will conclude the festival for 2024.  

Tullis said a lot of WKU students, and some professors have signed up to participate in the festival.  

David Marquez, assistant professor of sculpture, had a booth with the League of Sculptures and was on the Board of the festival last year. Marquez said a lot of WKU alumni are also involved with organizing the festival. 

The first White Squirrel Arts Fest was rather successful, Marquez said. This year, he has moved away from being on the Board to be more involved with the League of Sculptures but hopes the festival will build on the community from last year.  

Festivals like this one are important, Marquez said, because “finding ways [for students] to be involved in a community really teaches them that art isn’t just selling the art.”  

“It is also about being part of the community of artists,” Marquez said. 

News Reporter Mariia Novoselia can be reached at [email protected].

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