The CanyonArts Festival brings a whole new lineup of entertainment, a full day of music and interactive fun for the family this month.
“Aside from our performers, there will be time between sets and activities for open microphone and jam time on the main food court stage,” said Renate Medley, organizer for the popular Santiam Canyon event and cofounder of event sponsor, Santiam Hearts to Arts.
“Also new this year is the Mock Chalk Walk, soggy Oregon’s answer to pavement drawing,” she added. “Teams of up to four will be given a 4-by-4-foot chalkboard on the floor to create a masterpiece with chalk pastels. The entry fee is $20 per team, and the top three prizes will be cash awards of $50, $75 and $100.”
The CanyonArts Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 at Mill City Middle School and on the street in front, 450 SW Evergreen St. Entrance to the event, contests and entertainment is free. A small fee of under $1 will be charged for Kid Zone carnival games and activities.
“There will be much to do, but families won’t want to miss the ArtSmart Passport Trail,” Medley said. “Follow the trail and fill your coloring passport with stamps. Meet featured artist Denise Sanders and six other famous artists from the past. These artists, portrayed by actors, will give visitors a ‘from the heart’ look at their lives. At the end of the trail, passport holder will receive a brand new free book of choice through partnership with our First Book Local Advisory Board.”
Mill City Middle School
450 S.W. Evergreen St., Mill City
Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Entrance and entertainment is free.
A small fee of under $1 will be
charged for Kid Zone games.
Medley cites spin art bike painting as another “unique and super” activity.
“Bring your home movie cameras!” she said. “It is the beloved no-fail art activity with a new spin. In this collaborative creative process, one partner peddles while the other paints. Artists here can’t make up their minds which job is more fun, but the outcome is always the same – hysterical family amusement!”
Entertaining every hour throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. are, in order: Scott Johnson, jazz/blues; Heaven Bound, gospel; Santiam Canyon Community Chorus, choral; Home Grown Fiddlers, string band; Old-time Fiddlers, string band; Nickels and Stars, folk; Trexler Farm Ramblers, bluegrass; and John Olivera, country. Most performances will be 30 minutes, with open microphone and jam time in between.
On the children’s stage will be: Puppet Times, time to be arranged; Aumsville Community Theatre, multiple voice and poetry skits, 10 a.m.; and Cwerks Interactive Children’s Theatre, performance and storytelling, 2:30.
In the Literacy Corner, authors will be reading from their books and talking about the wrting process throughout the day.
Assisting at the festival are Santiam High School volunteers through the International Club under the guidance of Caroline Gillaspy and the FAA under the guidance of Nicole Shultz.
“These are great kids who do a massive amount of work in setup and tear-down activities, and also helping on festival day,” Medley said.
The CanyonArts Festival is the largest of many events by Santiam Hearts to Arts, a nonprofit for the arts based in Mill City and serving the Santiam corridor.
“The festival serves our mission by providing cultural opportunity for our participants and visitors alike,” Medley said.
“We are grooming the festival to be a revenue-producing event that will eventually fuel our other projects and programs, such as the children’s poetry and art contest, the fish fence project, school assemblies, support of the pop culture class, and other community events, including the Spring Awakening, Theatre Outreach, Cascade Foothills Saturday Faire, and Remembering Black History, to name a few.”
A self-dubbed “creative right-brainer,” Medley knows artists, musicians and other creative folks are not conventional linear thinkers.
“Because of this they are often misunderstood,” she said. “This is particularly true of children who are frequently prompted to prepare for a ‘real job’ in a culture that is so focused on economics and capital gain. I think this is a flaw in our society because it is the creative thinkers who bring positive change to our world.
“As the CAF theme states this year, nothing wonderful ever came into this world until someone ‘Dared to Dream’ it!” Medley added.
Santiam Hearts to Arts’ mission, she said, is “to do just that.”
As cofounder of the group with husband, Mike, she said she had “a dream that literacy and the arts could make a difference to individuals, to our local school system, and to our community in the same way it had been the defining factor of my existence.”
Raised in the foster care system, Medley said there were times when book characters were her only permanent friends, and art and music her only means of expression.
“When I moved to Mill City six years ago and discovered that shrinking school budgets had prohibited most arts activity for over a decade, I couldn’t rest until I at least tried to do something about it,” she said.
What evolved through Santiam Hearts to Arts happened largely because of others who felt the same way, she said. The organization meets at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month at Trexler Farms.
“I encourage those who feel the arts have touched them to come out and explore our organization,” Medley said. “They might just find the perfect fit.”