Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Returns For 2021, With Free Concerts, Summer Gala | Latitude 65

The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival 2021 begins Sunday, offering two weeks filled with 120 workshops and this year, plenty of free concerts.

The 41st annual event takes place July 18-31 at locations in the Fairbanks area and includes the popular Lunch Bites at Raven’s Landing, free concerts at the Fairgrounds and a special fundraising dinner to induct the former director Terese Kaptur in the Festival Hall of Fame.

The festival’s mission is to awaken everyone’s inner artist, to connect world-class professionals with aspiring artists, and to give people passionate about the fine arts a way to pursue their passions through study. and performance.

The 120 workshops represent about half of what the festival normally offers, the result of a careful recovery from Covid-19. It is also the result of which guest artists could commit to participating, which venues were available and how many people in the community were interested in participating.

“Half of it looks about right,” said James Menaker, director of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.

These classes include culinary arts, learning new instruments, painting, drawing, jazz, ensemble playing, singing, dancing and more. There is no gospel choir this year and no orchestra.

Registration has been slow and steady, but this is the week most attendees are expected to register.

“With all the uncertainty that reigns, we wondered if we will even have a festival,” Menaker said.

The festival decided to open, although it would likely be a smaller event. Three things needed to fall into place, Menaker said. The festival had to know that there were people who thought it was safe to participate, instructors who wanted to teach, and places ready to host. If any of these three factors were missing, that genre would be postponed until next year.

“I think the people who come and participate are going to have an amazing time,” he said. “The guest artists are super excited to be invited to come here and to be able to share what they’re doing.”

An estimated 60 guest artists have registered, including 30 from outside Alaska.

Breakfast Bites

Then, the popular Lunch Bites will continue and run from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the Raven Landing Center, 949 McGown St.

“We are going to be the first outdoor event held at Raven Landing (since the Covid-19 coup),” Menaker said. “We are thrilled and honored to be here and to share a sample of what each of our visiting guest artists brings. We can’t wait to participate and have a good time with it.

“It’s a great space and the residents there are very welcoming and hospitable,” he added. “They can’t wait to have us and we can’t wait to play.”

Free concerts

Free concerts are scheduled at David Concert Hall, Journey Church, Georgeson Botanical Garden and UAF Pub. See www.fsaf.org for the calendar.

The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and Tanana Valley Fair overlap for a few days at the end of the month. The festival will therefore also organize free concerts at the fair on July 30, July 31 and August 1.

“Sometimes we coincide and cross paths, which never happens,” he said. “We decided it would be a really fun partnership to have some of our events at the fairgrounds.”

Thus, steel pans, air silks, American Roots, big band, Afro-Cuban concert and world music, and dance concerts will be at the rendezvous at the exhibition center. There is no admission fee. See the calendar at www.fsaf.org.

“It’s an outdoor event,” Menaker said. “This will allow us to share what is happening with the festival with a large part of the population. “

In recent years, admission fees were charged for most concerts.

“It’s been a great year to try new things,” Menaker said. Free concerts are a way to give back to the community and maybe also share the festival with newcomers for the first time.

“It’s been a bit of a year for people and we wanted to make the festival, and a celebration of what we do, as open and accessible to the community as possible,” Menaker said.

Hall of fame

Terese Kaptur, who served as director of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival for eight years, will be inducted into the festival’s Hall of Fame at 7 p.m. at the Westmark Gold Room on July 29 during the festival’s summer gala.

The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival’s jazz faculty, led by Keith Karns and acclaimed jazz artist Greta Matassa, will perform at the gala. The evening includes a silent auction and a dessert tasting.

Kaptur was the second festival director after founder Jo Scott, who was the first Hall of Fame inductee.

“She has been a tremendous bridge between Jo Scott and his legacy in helping the festival’s transition to a modern and professional organization,” said Menaker. “She was responsible for incredible music campaigns here in Alaska, which continue today through another organization.

“She loves the arts and she loves music and she loves the festival,” he said. “When you spend time with her, those qualities come through.”

This is the only event for which the festival will sell tickets. These tickets cost $ 50 and are available online or at the festival office.

Contact community columnist / editor Kris Capps at [email protected] Follow her on twitter.com/FDNMKris.

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