Schenectady County

Schenectady to show its creative side for Kids Arts Fest

Young performers and seasoned artists will fill Jay Street on Saturday for a free arts festival for

Young performers and seasoned artists will fill Jay Street on Saturday for a free arts festival for young children.

The 17th annual Kids Arts Fest will run from noon to 4 p.m., rain or shine, with all events moving into City Hall if Mother Nature won’t cooperate.

“Originally targeted to create a sense of fun, excitement and safety for families in downtown Schenectady, the festival continues to engage young people and their creative spirits without commercialism,” said Karen Johnson, one of the organizers.

Even the merchants who might not seem like an obvious fit are joining in.

Tattoo Blues, on Jay Street, will stencil temporary tattoos on children, even though they don’t do real tattoos for children.

“It’s more exciting for the children than for us,” owner Fred Leger said. “I mean, we’re a tattoo shop in an art gallery.”

But since the arts fest will take place outside his front door, he decided to join in.

“That’s what we do here: art,” he said.

Local artists are also going to attend, although they all must scale down their art to meet the children’s skills.

Steve Kowalski, a local sculptor, will teach children how to make figures with pipe cleaners, while artist Stephan Bourgeois will lead children to make a mural.

Tony Iadicicco and Elyse Vacherot will continue their Greenmarket art program, in which children make unusual clothing out of everyday materials. This time, they will make beaded fabric belts.

“Last time they made crazy hats,” Iadicicco said. “We’re trying to do one [item of clothing] at every festival. By the time they’re done, people will be fully decked out.”

He loves the kids art fest because it focuses on young children.

“It’s fun to help them create,” he said. “It’s going back to the root of being creative when you’re young instead of playing video games.”

Other creative endeavors include making slime (courtesy of General Electric workers), planting a seed with Price Chopper workers and designing journals with the Schenectady Day Nursery. There are more than 25 free activities.

The performance schedule includes The Central Park International Magnet School Jazz and Rock Bands at noon, The Puppet People at 12:45 and 2 p.m., Stephen Gratto, Circus Star at 1:15 and 3:15 p.m., and the Zucchini Brothers at 2:30 p.m.

The Paul Mitchell School Line Dancers will also perform, as will the Indo Youth Group, Schenectady’s Steel Pretty Steel Drummers and a group that will perform a Chinese ribbon dance.

On the street, Tip the Clown will be roaming with Pip Squeaks, who makes balloon figures, and Gary Van Slyke will perform on a penny whistle as a historic musician.

The event is organized by the ElectriCity Arts District and is funded by Schenectady County and private donors.

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